Ten emerging higher education leaders comprise Maxine Smith Fellows Class of 2019

Maxine Smith Fellows Class of 2019

Ten college and university faculty and staff members from across Tennessee have begun their year of leadership study and training as the Tennessee Board of Regents Maxine Smith Fellows Class of 2019.

The Maxine Smith Fellows Program is a leadership development initiative of TBR, providing opportunities for minority faculty and staff to participate in a working and learning environment that will enhance their work experience and career development – with a goal of increasing the number of qualified applicants from underrepresented groups for senior level administrative positions at TBR colleges and other institutions.

The program is named in honor of the late Memphis educator and civil rights leader who headed the Memphis Branch of the NAACP for 33 years, was a member of the Memphis school board and later served as a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“We are proud that this  program, launched in 2003, has produced more than 100 alumni with leadership training, many of whom have advanced to executive leadership positions such as college presidents, deans and department chairs, at colleges within the TBR system and elsewhere,” said Dr. Wendy Thompson, TBR vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness and administrator of the program.

Members of the Class of 2019 – the program’s 14th class – are:

  • Cindy Beverley, student services coordinator, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Murfreesboro.
  • Sheraine Gilliam-Holmes, executive director and chief human resources officer, Austin Peay State University.
  • Jamica Hines, assistant campus director, Nashville State Community College.
  • Robert Jackson, creative services coordinator, Southwest Tennessee Community College.
  • Diane Jackson, instructor and business department head, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Chattanooga.
  • Shirleatha Lee, associate dean, College of Nursing, University of Memphis.
  • Hadii Mamudu, associate professor of public health, East Tennessee State University.
  • Meredeth McCoy-McCraw, assistant professor of mathematics and director of the A.A.S. business program, Columbia State Community College.
  • Anita Polk-Conley, professor of mathematics, Chattanooga State Community College.
  • Gwendolyn Sutton, vice president, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis.

Maxine Smith Fellows are nominated by the presidents of their institutions. They gather monthly for learning sessions to observe and participate in decision-making situations; experience how policy is made at the institution, senior administrative and governing board levels, and hear from a broad variety of education officials and leaders. In addition, they work on scholarly papers and projects through the year and present them during the final session.


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.