The Educators' Cooperative is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit based in Nashville, TN. Our mission is to grow a professional collaborative network for educators to collaborate between public, private, and charter sectors. We believe when teachers collaborate, the future of education is greater than the sum of its parts.
Created for teachers, by teachers, EdCo originated in 2014 when educator Greg O'Loughlin attended the Klingenstein Summer Institute at Columbia University Teachers College. There, he experienced the power of facilitated teacher-to-teacher development. He returned to Nashville inspired to found a new initiative: The Educators' Cooperative.
EdCo began in 2016 as a cohort of 20 teachers, Grades 3-8. By 2022, we have grown into a collaborative organization of nearly 200 PreK-12 teachers.
Learn about the Board, our Advisory Committee, and more below.
Sanjana Ballal-Link grew up in Staten Island, NY. Her parents were immigrants from India who always stressed the importance of education. After attending the George Washington University, Sanjana moved to New Orleans to teach 3rd Grade. She moved to Nashville in 2010 to pursue her degree in School Counseling from Vanderbilt University. In 2012, she joined Cameron, a LEAD public school, starting as their counselor and then as their Assistant Principal of Culture. In 2016, she transitioned to Teach for America Nashville-Chattanooga regional staff where she led the coaching team. In 2019, she transitioned to lead the full programmatic team for the Nashville-Chattanooga region. This summer, Sanjana joined MNPS Support Hub staff as the Director of Partnerships for Post-Secondary Readiness.
Joel is a founding member of The Educators’ Cooperative. He has served on the Advisory Committee since its inception and was the director of EdCampNash from 2018-2021.
Joel Bezaire teaches 7th Grade Pre-Algebra and Middle School Statistics at the University School of Nashville. He has been awarded a Desmos Fellowship, a repeat national semifinalist for the Museum of Math’s Rosenthal Prize, and the inaugural winner of USN’s Bovender Family Faculty Chair for “modeling the best in innovative teaching practices and thorough involvement in the life of the school”.
Christiane Buggs is the District 5 Representative and the Chair of the Metro Nashville School Board. Her civil service experience spans the gamut of Nashville’s public education system. Christiane is a Nashville native and product of MNPS. As a student, teacher, and community member, she has experienced our schools in several different ways throughout the course of her life.
Christiane’s full-time role still keeps her heavily involved in the MNPS system, engaging with students. Currently, she serves as the Project Manager for the Blueprint for Early Childhood Success. Christiane is also a founding board member for The Equity Alliance. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and two Master’s in Education—one in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University and the other in Urban Education from Vanderbilt University.
Jenna Davis is an ELD Instructional Coach who serves four MNPS schools in Southeast Nashville. As both a part of cohort 3 and former Educators’ Cooperative advisory committee member, Jenna loves learning from other educators. She says, “I always leave our time together in EdCo recharged and energized due to our shared commitment to all students in Nashville.”
During her time as an elementary teacher, Jenna was a member of the MNPS Teacher Leadership Institute, as well as an inaugural member of the NPEF Teacher Cabinet. She also completed the TN Educator Fellowship with SCORE. Jenna is currently an M.Ed candidate in Vanderbilt’s Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies Master’s program where her focus is on equitable instruction for multilingual learners.
Turner Delano is a Managing Director with Koya Partners, Diversified Search Group, a global executive search firm where she is dedicated to nonprofit executive recruitment. Prior to joining Koya Partners, Turner served as Managing Producer of a weekly news show on Bloomberg TV Africa and Al Jazeera English. While there she produced, researched, and pitched one-on-one profiles globally including segments featuring Ehud Barak, Newt Gingrich, and Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. In addition to her role with Koya Partners, Turner co-produces the American Heroes Saltwater Challenge, an annual event supporting wounded veterans. Turner also volunteers and host events for the Earth Conservation Corps, a nonprofit Youth Development and Environmental service organization based in Washington, DC. Turner received a dual BA, International Affairs and Economics from Simmons University in Boston
Conor Duggan is a Vice President in the Nashville, TN office at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Prior to J.P. Morgan, Conor worked in law, at a university foundation, and as a corporate trustee. He serves on the Board of the Planned Giving Council of Middle Tennessee and the Advisory Board of Next Steps at Vanderbilt University.
Conor received his B.A. in Business Administration at Furman University, J.D. at the University of South Carolina School of Law, and LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Alabama School of Law. Conor is an alumnus of Nashville’s Young Leaders Council.
Dan Furbish is the Founder and Director of The Oasis Bike Workshop. He has served thousands of students through his Build-a-Bike program in Middle & High Schools all over MNPS. He teaches students the mechanics of bike maintenance while he empowers them with job-readiness skills, transportation, and support. Dan appeared on a Collaborates Call in 2020 to discuss STEM teaching and his Bike Workshop program where he met EdCo teachers who have since been partnering with the workshop.
Dan also led a recent collaboration between Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation, Nashville Parks Foundation, Metro Nashville Public Health Department, Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, and the North Nashville community on a project that brought a BMX/Skatepark to Watkins Park. He was recently named a finalist for the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Salute to Excellence Frist Foundation Team Building Award for this work. He has been featured on CNN, NPR, and many other local outlets.
Ricki Gibbs II
Dr. Ricki Gibbs is principal of Warner Arts Magnet Elementary. He earned his B.S. in Elementary Education and M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University. He then went on to earn a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Change from Lipscomb University. He started his career teaching 3rd grade at Paragon Mills Elementary in Nashville, TN, and has served as both an assistant principal and principal in Metro Nashville Public Schools.
In 2020, Dr. Gibbs was named Elementary Principal of the Year for Metro Nashville Public Schools and his work at Warner was featured in the WPLN Podcast “The Promise Season 2”. The podcast focuses on racial segregation and Gibbs’ determination to transform his school by implementing an innovative curriculum designed to engage current students and recruit new families for enrollment.
Melissa Campbell Goodson
Melissa Campbell has worked in professional sports, arts and entertainment since 1983. She is currently the owner and co-curator of “Locals”, an art gallery in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Much of Melissa’s work has been based in the music industry as a Publicity Director handling Tour Press, Record Releases and Tour Advance. Her work has also included working media in International Crisis Cases. During nine of her 25+ years, Melissa served as Publicist and Consultant in support of her favorite non-profits, Challenge Aspen, Challenge America and Challenge America Military Opportunities (CAMO), each dedicated to year-round adaptive experiences for those with cognitive and/or physical disabilities.
Lemuel J. Holifield is the Manager of Resident Development at the Nashville Teacher Residency. He sits on the Board of Directors of The Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA), a nonprofit that works to increase teachers of color across the state of Tennessee with leadership, mentorship, and fellowship.
Lemuel has been a teacher in both public and private schools and was the Director of Student Life at Templeton Academy.
Lemuel comes to Nashville by way of Johnson City, Tennessee. His life goal is to empower students to successfully navigate through life as well-rounded individuals with a strong sense of cultural identity.
“I teach as an extension of living life itself. EdCo is an incubator for great educators and great ideas!” – Lemuel J. Holifield
Ashford currently serves as the Executive Officer for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Metro Nashville Public Schools, where he focuses on designing and implementing system changing initiatives and policies that address historic inequities as well the academic and social and emotional needs of the district's diverse populations.
He is the former Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, for the city of Nashville and Davidson County. In this role he worked to implement the Mayor’s diversity and inclusion goals across Metro Government and lead the city’s efforts to attract, develop, promote, and retain a diverse government workforce at all levels.
Emily Masters currently serves as the elected representative for district three of the Metro Nashville Public Schools Board of Education.
An entrepreneur, a former PTO chair, and a mom of two kids in MNPS, she has a Master of Arts in English Literature. In 2009 she began work as a freelance fundraising consultant, working with many organizations, including Tennessee State Library and Archives, Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, Metro Arts, NashvilleHealth, The Porch Writers’ Collective, and The Educators’ Cooperative. In 2010 she attended a Peabody Professional Institute at Vanderbilt, where she learned fundraising techniques for educational institutions. Her first job in Nashville was as a Resolution Writer for the Tennessee General Assembly. She then spent 8 years as a Program Officer and Program Director for Humanities Tennessee.
After teaching in Nashville's public school and private schools, Greg couldn't believe there was not a professional network for teachers, by teachers where teachers could collaborate, connect, and support one another. So in 2016, he created The Educators' Cooperative - a mutual aid network for all teachers working in public, private, and charter schools. What started as a group of 20 teachers and a handful of volunteers has since grown into a professional collaborative community of more than 210 members and whose programming supports the work of hundreds more.
Greg was the Executive Director for the last 8 years and taught in the classroom for more than 13 years. He now serves as the Executive Director of Friends of Sinn Féin, where he works to ensure every level of American support is organized, engaged and coordinated in pursuit of the goal of a new and United Ireland. In his spare time, he enjoys riding his bike, coaching the Oasis Mountain Bike Team, and spending time with his family.
Bo Daniel Parr
Bo Daniel Parr is a community organizer, boy scout troop leader, public and private school parent, and most recently, after hearing the call for more support in schools and classrooms, a substitute teacher with MNPS.
She is the organizer and founder at the heart of the creation of Lockeland Springs Park. The park-located in a dense residential district just three miles east of downtown—is home to the natural Springs that give the neighborhood its name. Bo was instrumental in cleaning out the Springs (a multi-year effort!) and acquiring a grant to build an outdoor classroom, trails, and educational signage in the park. These additions have allowed for nearby school children to have space to learn about ecology, history, biology, and how water flows out of the ground. The outdoor classroom is located just behind Lockeland Design Center and has been an excellent resource for teachers as they navigate ways to educate elementary age students during the pandemic.
Bo holds a doctoral degree in Physical Therapy and spent 20 years working with student athletes and taking care of all ages and ranges of orthopedic injuries, with a special interest in treating neck and back pain. Bo is also a former member of the board of the University School of Nashville Association. She enjoys spending time with her teenage kids, paddling on any body of water, and backpacking.
Kat is an accomplished board member, currently holding the position of Director of Strategy for RePublic schools and sitting on the Board of Directors for Home Of Potential & Excellence (H.O.P.E.). With a B.S. in Elementary Education, an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration, and a certificate in Educational Coaching, Kat brings a wealth of expertise to her roles. She has also made significant contributions as an adjunct professor with Relay Graduate School of Education, sharing her knowledge and passion for education with aspiring educators. Kat's experience includes coaching school leaders, founding programs, and leading the opening of schools in Texas and Tennessee during her time with Rocketship Public Schools. Additionally, she has played a vital role in programming and development for Teach For America, supporting educators in the Greater Nashville region. Recognized as Teacher of the Year, Kat's dedication to education extends beyond her professional life. In her spare time, she indulges in artistic pursuits such as custom watercolor painting and enjoys the tranquility of fly fishing. With her diverse experiences and unwavering commitment to education, Kat continues to make a positive impact on students and educators through her board positions.
JJ Rosen is the CEO of Atiba, a Nashville-based technology consulting firm that he started in 1992. A Nashville native, JJ attended University School of Nashville and Vanderbilt graduating with a degree in Human and Organizational Development. In addition to EdCo, he currently serves on the board of Hands On Nashville and the Nashville Business Incubation Center.
David Rutledge is an Assistant Business Manager for the Southeast Laborers' District Council, and an Executive Board member at LiUNA Local 386 in Nashville. As a union representative and as the son, grandson, and nephew of educators, he is dedicated to advocating for greater support for teachers as the building blocks of society and promoting their organizing for mutual aid and support.
David grew up in public schools in Gallatin, Tennessee before attending Vanderbilt, where he received his BA in History and Political Science. Prior to joining the labor movement, he was active in state and local politics for several years. He helped establish and currently serves as a board member for Music City Construction Careers, Inc., a non-profit Apprenticeship Readiness Program that introduces people to the construction industry and connects them with middle-class careers as union construction workers.
Josh Segall is co-founder and CEO of Space Inch, a software development company based in Nashville and Zagreb. He is also co-founder of Space Inch Games, a company that created 15 original games and 40M installs of those games. Josh is a recovering lawyer.
Born in DC, Ben grew up in DC/MD area until he graduated High School and moved to Nashville to go to school and play music. After a couple years of college, he eventually dropped out to play music full time. During his touring times, Ben always worked random jobs to make money, and several of them were based around Food. Music turned into food and events, and he became passionate about vegan eating, starting a business called The BE Hive. Now the food game is full time for him, and his company manufactures vegan meats and cheeses and operates a Vegan Deli in East Nashville.
Adam Tanaka is a founder/entrepreneur with a strong commitment to raising awareness about childhood mental health. He has made significant contributions to the merch branding industry as the founder of Life and Limb Printing, introducing innovative solutions for beverage, hospitality, corporate, and lifestyle brands. Driven by a deep sense of purpose, Adam expanded his entrepreneurial endeavors by founding Cavehouse Supply, a baby and kids brand with a core focus on childhood mental health. Through Cavehouse Supply, he has curated a collection of "Products With A Purpose" that combine various items, resources, and activities to encourage outdoor exploration, foster optimism, and promote mental well-being. Adam's ultimate goal is to challenge stigmas associated with mental health, facilitate open conversations, and provide valuable resources to help children and their families thrive. Beyond his business ventures, Adam is also the driving force behind Cavehouse Workshops, the social impact arm of Cavehouse Supply. Through this initiative, Adam collaborates with communities to offer day camps and week-long workshops designed to empower children and equip them with the necessary tools to navigate early childhood with confidence. These workshops blend education, creativity, and play to cultivate emotional intelligence, self-expression, and resilience among children, enabling them to develop crucial skills to support their mental health.
My name is Sydney Britt; I am a teacher, speaker, and activist from Fayetteville, Georgia. I currently teach English at McMurray Middle School in Nashville, TN and guest lecture at Belmont University. I graduated from Agnes Scott College with a degree in Music and Education. After moving to Nashville, I achieved a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from Belmont University while teaching 3rd grade as a Metro Nashville Urban Teachers Residency program (MNUTR) resident. I was a keynote speaker at Tennessee State University’s 2018 ACES Conference.
I am privileged to be a Cohort 5 initiate member of The Educators’ Cooperative. Empowering young people to advocate for themselves and others drives both my teaching practice and my heart. For me, The Educator’s Cooperative is a space to engage fully with the educational challenges of our times. This alliance of excellent servant-leaders challenges and encourages me to teach bravely.
I am fortunate to have experienced a variety of schools as a parent and teacher. Originally, I set out to be a food scientist and worked at Pillsbury for 8 years. While there, I volunteered with a classroom program called KaPOW (Kids and the Power of Work). I loved sharing learning with others both at school and in the lab, so I resigned and enrolled at Peabody, graduating with an M.Ed. in elementary education.
Since then, I’ve taught at Jere Baxter, Meigs, East Literature and J. T. Moore Middle Schools. This variety of schooling experience has helped me be a compassionate teacher, while my interest in science points me at the latest research and what works. I’ve served on district level math committees and the Nashville Public Education Foundation (NPEF) Teacher Cabinet. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow with other Nashville teachers in the Educators’ Cooperative.
Virginia Henry is a teacher. Virginia started her career as a graduate instructor in the University of Mississippi's English Department and has since taught everything from "Advanced Poetry" and "Writing & Rhetoric on Power and Privilege" to 10th grade English and 7th grade ELA. Previously, Virginia served as Battle Ground Academy's first Curriculum Coordinator for the Humanities. She is now a proud Panther, teaching 8th graders early American history in Social Studies at Cameron Middle School. She has a BA in English Literature, an MFA in Creative Writing, and is currently working on her MAT in Social Studies.
I serve as the Kids on Stage Art Director for Mount Pleasant Schools in historically rural Mount Pleasant, TN. I work with all Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Art, Audio/Video production programs across all three schools, and offer STEAM integration support to ALL 100 teachers across the only TSIN/TDOE certified model status STEM school clusters in Tennessee.
I am currently in my fifth year teaching 4th grade at Cole Elementary School in MNPS. I believe that education has the power to improve the lives of all students by connecting with them on a personal level. To best prepare students for the future world they will face, it’s imperative to teach the whole child academically, socially, and emotionally, so I strive to create strong classroom community. I teach because I love learning and want to pass this love on to future generations.
The Educator’s Cooperative allows me to connect with other teachers, where we can discuss best practices, identify common issues, and generate working solutions. As a lifelong learner, EdCo provides the space and opportunity to continue to push my thinking and further develop my skills as an educator. It provides for community, reflection, and a constant source of rejuvenation!
I’m a proud teacher of newcomer English language learners at LEAD Cameron, a zoned charter school in Nashville. I love my work because of the students I teach and the community we create together. As a reading and language teacher, my goals are to get to know my students, celebrate their assets, meet them where they are, and support them in developing their language and literacy skills.
I think instruction should always be meaningful and informed by the needs and interests of the current group of students sitting in the classroom. This requires a reflective practice that is always striving for new ideas and constructive feedback. Participating in the Educators’ Cooperative has connected me with phenomenal teachers throughout Nashville who have helped me to bring more energy, creativity, and positivity to my practice. I think every teacher needs the support system that is the Educators’ Cooperative.
I currently teach 8th grade Earth Science at Montgomery Bell Academy, where I enjoy sharing Earth’s complexity and diversity with students in a hands-on, engaging, and practical manner. Prior to MBA, I taught agronomy in the highland Andes to K-12 students and developed 4-F clubs as a Peace Corp volunteer. Following PC Ecuador, I taught bilingual science and math in NYC Public Schools and studied at Teachers College, Columbia University in the inaugural class of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Fellows program.
My challenge and passion involves keeping abreast of changes in Earth systems, technology in education, and best practices in pedagogy. Conferences help, but my endeavors are maximized when ongoing with local like-minded colleagues.
The Educator’s Cooperative allows me regular interaction with incredible colleagues from a variety of school models, all committed to best practices and sharing of “what works”.