Megan Trotter is the assistant to the regional president of Wilson Bank & Trust. Previously, she was a journalist for 10 years with the Herald-Citizen newspaper. Her favorite stories were those where she found seemingly ordinary people with hidden talents, knowledge, or life stories that she got to display for the world to appreciate. She won second place in the Associated Press Awards for her work on the weekly Living section of the paper, and was awarded the Media Award from the TN Association of Mental Health Organizations for coverage of mental health awareness throughout 2014. Megan was also a member of the first graduating class of IMPACT Leadership, serving on the first alumni board as the secretary.
Kevin Christopher - Legal Counsel
Kevin is an intellectual property attorney and founder of Ridgeline Venture Law. He relocated from Oakland, California (Go Dubs!) in 2016, and is married to Lauren Christopher with children Leif, Jack Henry, and Indi (don’t ask, just roll with it). Kevin serves on advisory boards for Cookeville’s Biz Foundry, Chattanooga’s INCubator, and Tennessee’s statewide patent pro bono program LAVPA.
Shaquawana Wester - Community Advisor
Born in Nashville, Ms Wester was raised in the public housing system in Cookeville, TN. This experience prepared her for her work with youth in low income housing, as a volunteer for 3 years in AmeriCorps. She was eventually hired full time as Youth Programs Coordinator at Highlands Residential Services where she serves as Director of the Teens Need Training after school program, offering tutoring services with community partners. Her passion to impact the lives of low income youth is palpable as is her desire to help meet the needs of the community she deeply loves. She is the heart behind the annual “Quawana’s Coats” drive, a $20,000 grant winning event that provides winter coats to those in need. With the aid of grant proceeds, Ms Wester provides clothing, hygiene products, school supplies and more for families in public housing. She is the proud mother of three girls and grandmother of two and is furthering her education to offer professional counseling services to underprivileged youth.
George Chitiyo - Program and Analytics Advisor
George Chitiyo, Ph.D., is a Professor of Educational Research and Evaluation at Tennessee Tech University. His academic background is in economics and quantitative research methods in education. George currently serves on the Susan G. Komen Advisory Council for the Upper Cumberland Region, and is also actively involved in several other educational events and projects both locally and internationally. He lives in Cookeville with his wife, Rufaro.
Jerry S. Boyd - Ambassador, Public School System
Jerry S. Boyd is the current Superintendent/Director of Schools for the Putnam County School System in Putnam County, TN. He has over 23 years experience in public education, 21 of which are with the Putnam County School System. During his career in education, Jerry has served as a classroom teacher (9-12 sciences); assistant principal (7-12); principal (7-12 and 9-12), district administrator for improvement and innovation; supervisor of technology; secondary curriculum supervisor; and assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
Jerry received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Tennessee Technological University. After working in the private industry for two years as a chemical analyst, Jerry returned to school to obtain his teaching license, Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and, subsequently, his Education Specialist degree in Instructional Leadership with a goal to lead school transformation. Jerry is currently completing his doctorate (ABD) in Education in PK-12 Administration and Supervision at Tennessee State University.
Jerry is a proud husband to Stephanie Boyd who is a middle school teacher and the mother of their three children, Killian, Calista, and Silas.
Lillian Hartgrove - Ambassador, Chamber of Commerce
Lillian Hartgrove is Workforce Development and Education Vice President for the Highlands Economic Partnership. Lillian held various management positions with SunTrust Banks in South Florida prior to relocating to Cookeville in 2003 to launch the bank’s state of the art Call Center. She left banking in 2008 to join the Highlands Economic Partnership team and manages the Highlands Workforce Development and Education Programs of Work, a multi-county collaboration with K-12 education, higher education, business and industry, Chambers of Commerce and community organizations.
Lillian was appointed by Governor Haslam in 2014 to serve on the State Board of Education representing the 6th district. She was elected in January 2018 to serve as Chairman of the State Board of Education by unanimous vote of the Board members. She is a graduate of Mississippi State College for Women.
Becky Magura - Ambassador, WCTE
Director since 2014. With 35 years of experience in production, educational outreach and management at public television station WCTE, Becky Magura brings to any project a level of commitment and strategic direction necessary for success. She resides in Cookeville, TN and serves on numerous regional & national boards. She received the Cumberland Business Journal’s Ovation Award for Community Service.
Ms. Magura is Chair of the PBS Interconnection Committee and serves on the PBS Station Services Committee, Strategic Planning Advisory Group, and Working Group on Unserved Areas. She previously served on the Diversity Advisory Committee.