Board of Regents appoints Nathan Garrett president of Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville, approves criteria for next president of TCAT Morristown

The Tennessee Board of Regents today appointed Nathan Garrett president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville, effective Jan. 5. He is currently TBR assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and workforce alignment, and was interim president of TCAT McMinnville from July 2020 through September 2021.

Garrett succeeds the late Mark Lenz, TCAT Nashville’s president for 12 years who passed away Sept. 8.

In addition to its main campus at 100 White Bridge Road, TCAT Nashville has branch campuses in Portland and Springfield and at Cockrill Bend at the John C. Tune Airport. Through its participation in the state’s Correctional Education Initiative, the college also provides career and technical training at the state’s Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center and Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

In a special called meeting today, the Board of Regents also approved criteria for the next president of TCAT Morristown, where President Jerry Young is retiring April 30, 2022, after five years as president there and 33 years of TBR service. A Search Advisory Committee composed of members of the Board and representatives of TCAT Morristown students, faculty, staff and alumni, and business and civic leaders from the Morristown area will be appointed to lead the search for Young’s successor.

Today’s meeting was streamed and is archived for viewing on the Tennessee Board of Regents website here. Criteria for the Morristown presidency are also posted under "Meeting Materials" there. The Board of Regents governs the state’s public community and technical colleges comprising the College System of Tennessee.

The board unanimously approved Garrett’s appointment at TCAT Nashville following his recommendation by TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings. He was one of three finalists selected by a 17-member Search Advisory Committee on Dec. 3. All three participated in open campus forums Dec. 13. After reviewing input from the forums, the campus community and the public, interviewing the finalists and consulting with search committee members, Dr. Tydings recommended Garrett to the board for its consideration.

She cited his experience in helping align the system’s career and technical training to industry needs, his management and growth of the system’s apprenticeship programs, and his service as interim president of TCAT McMinnville, where enrollment increased substantially.

“An excellent pool of candidates emerged through the national search but we feel Nathan Garrett was the best choice for TCAT Nashville and the success of its students,” the chancellor said.

As the system’s lead coordinator of U.S. Department of Labor certified apprenticeship programs, Garrett has worked closely with TCAT Nashville and the system’s other public community and technical colleges in developing apprenticeship programs with area businesses and industries. Apprentices take training classes at the colleges while working and earning income alongside experienced colleagues at their participating employers.

Regent Joey Hatch, who chaired the Search Advisory Committee, moved for the board to approve the chancellor’s recommendation and appoint Garrett president. Other board members who served on the committee were Board Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds and Regent Wanda Reid, along with representatives of the college community and business and industry.

Hatch cited the partnership of TCAT Nashville and Nashville State Community College next door as a tremendous asset for Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Garrett said, “I am excited for the opportunity to lead TCAT Nashville. They have a talented team, supported by wonderful community partners. It is my goal to learn and leverage these talents and partnerships to increase the value TCAT Nashville provides to Middle Tennessee.”

Nathan Garrett, new president of TCAT Nashville

Garrett is completing work on his doctorate in education, in higher education executive leadership, at the University of Memphis. He earned his bachelor of arts in political science and master of arts in international relations, both at Eastern Illinois University.

He joined the TBR system as special industry coordinator at TCAT Memphis in 2012, was director of workforce innovations at the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce in 2015, and returned to TCAT Memphis as assistant director later that year. In 2017, he was appointed to the dual role of vice president of TCAT Murfreesboro and TBR assistant vice chancellor for community and economic development. After his service as interim president of TCAT McMinnville, he returned to the TBR system office as assistant vice chancellor.

His resume and other information about the search are available on the TBR website here

Reynolds and Tydings thanked TCAT Nashville Vice President Jerry King for serving as interim president during the challenging months after Mr. Lenz’s unexpected death.

TCAT Nashville served almost 1,500 students in Academic Year 2020-21, ranging from dual-enrolled high school students to new high school graduates to adults seeking new or supplemental skills training. The college offers more than 20 career and technical education programs, including Automotive Technology, Computer Information Technology, Cosmetology, Dental Assisting, Early Childhood Education, HVAC Technology, Practical Nursing, Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Administrative Office Technology, and Welding Technology. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Additional information about the college can be found at

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.