The Board of Directors of The Educators’ Cooperative works to ensure that we have the right tools and resources to support our work on behalf of teachers in all sectors.
Joel Bezaire teaches 7th Grade Pre-Algebra and Middle School Statistics at the University School of Nashville, where he has taught since 2002. He has been awarded a Desmos Fellowship, has been a two-time national semi-finalist for the Museum of Math’s Rosenthal Prize, and was 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”.
Joel is a founding member of The Educators’ Cooperative and has served on the Advisory Committee since its inception. He served as the director of EdCampNash from 2018-2021.
Christiane Buggs is the District 5 Representative and the Chair of the Metro Nashville School Board.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and two Master’s degrees in Education—one in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University and the other in Urban Education from Vanderbilt University. As a former middle school math teacher, consistent volunteer and new mother, she considers herself a life-long educator. 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 is also a founding board member for the The Equity Alliance, a Nashville based 501c3 that seeks to educate, engage, and empower minorities around the civic process. 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, a city-wide initiative focused on increasing literacy in our youngest learners.
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.
Jenna Davis is an ELD Instructional Coach who serves four MNPS schools in Southeast Nashville and their English Language Development programs. She 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.
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 where she learned how to advocate on behalf of her students and their families at the school, district and state level. A part of cohort 3, as well as a former advisory committee member of the Educators’ Cooperative, 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.”
Conor Duggan is a Vice President in the Nashville, TN office at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Prior to his time at J.P. Morgan, Conor worked in law, at a university foundation, and as a corporate trustee.
Conor’s wife, Catherine, is a former SPED teacher for KIPP Harlem and KIPP Nashville and is now pursuing her Ph.D.in Education Policy at Vanderbilt. 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 Leader’s Council and serves on the Board of the Planned Giving Council of Middle Tennessee and the Advisory Board of Next Steps at Vanderbilt University. Next Steps at Vanderbilt is a 4-year inclusive higher education program committed to providing students with intellectual disability an inclusive, transformational postsecondary education in academics, social and career development, and independent living.
Jon Eisen is Vice President of Lending for Middle Tennessee at Pathway Lending, a local non-profit that provides capital and advisory services to small businesses across the State. Jon is a Nashville native who is passionate about making this city a great place for everyone who lives here. He is excited to be a part of EdCo because of the great work the organization does to support teachers within all sectors in Middle Tennessee. He received his BA in Economics and Political Science from Columbia University and his MBA from Vanderbilt University. After college, Jon played baseball professionally and served as Executive Director at Nashville RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), a nonprofit that runs youth baseball and softball leagues.
Kate Ezell, principal at Ezell Consulting, partners with TN schools, corporations, nonprofits & product innovators to improve K-12 and college access & success for Tennessee students. Kate & her team design & implement: development strategies; product market testing & introduction; and strategic analyses for education service providers.
A graduate of Leadership Nashville and the Mayor’s My City Academy, she is currently holds board positions on the Nashville Public Library Foundation, the School for Science & Math at Vanderbilt, and the Educator’s Cooperative. She is chairman of UVA’s Jefferson Scholars Foundation Middle Tennessee Committee. Kate is a former member of the Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, the Fisk University Board of Trust, the Women’s Fund Board (Middle TN Community Foundation), co-chair of the YWCA’s Fulcrum Society, the MNPS Charter Review Committee, the UVA Board of Managers and the Jefferson Scholars National Selection Committee. Kate is an active member of the Downtown Nashville Rotary club, having co-chaired the Program Committee and serving on New Member Welcome Committee.
Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in English & French Literature and an M.B.A. from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. She and her husband Steven have 3 children: Lauren Ezell Minear, Read Ezell, and Eleanor Ezell.
Dan Furbish is the Founder and Director of The Oasis Bike Workshop. He has served thousands of students through his Build-a-Bike program, working in and with Middle & High Schools all over MNPS. He teaches students the mechanics of bike maintenance and repair while he empowers them with know-how and agency 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 was the lead on 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 as well.
Ricki Gibbs II
I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change; I am changing the things I cannot accept (Angela Davis). This quote has been the driving force behind Dr. Gibbs’ passion to change lives through the power of a great education. Dr. Ricki Gibbs 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 for four years. He served as an assistant principal and principal in Metro Nashville Public Schools and now has the honor of currently leading the transformation work as principal of Warner Arts Magnet Elementary. 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.
Lemuel J. Holifield is the Manager of Resident Development at the Nashville Teacher Residency.
He has been a teacher in both public and private middle and high schools and was the Director
of Student Life at Templeton Academy. Lemuel 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 comes to Nashville by way of Johnson City, Tennessee. Lemuel’s main 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!”.
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 2010 she attended a Peabody Professional Institute at Vanderbilt, where she learned about 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 then a Program Director for Humanities Tennessee. In 2009 she began work as a freelance fundraising consultant, and since then she has worked with many wonderful organizations, including Tennessee State Library and Archives, Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, Metro Arts, NashvilleHealth, The Porch Writers’ Collective, & The Educators’ Cooperative.
Vesia Wilson-Hawkins, a former Metro Nashville Public Schools student, parent, and staffer has spent nearly 20 years in and around the education landscape in Nashville. This work began while at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce before moving to Metro Nashville Public Schools to work with families in her role as community outreach coordinator and as a liaison between Nashville’s elected school board and the director of schools. For the past five years, Vesia has worked as an independent consultant on local political and issues campaigns and is a staunch advocate for excellence in education for every child in the public school system.
Vesia has a B.S. in political science from Austin Peay State University and an M.S. in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University.