The Franklin Special School District Board of Education, a Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Board of Distinction, was named the 2015 Tennessee School Board of the Year in November 2015 at the TSBA annual convention. To be considered for this award, school boards must be a Board of Distinction; develop, apply and monitor policy; be involved in long-range planning; promote quality education through involvement with the legislature, city/county commission, State Board of Education, community and staff; participate in board development activities, including boardmanship award levels for each member; and exhibit a positive relationship with the media.
The FSSD Board is currently in its first of two years as a TSBA Board of Distinction (2016-2017). The TSBA Board of Distinction Program recognizes boards for their work as a whole, meeting specified requirements in four key areas: planning, policy, promotion and board development. The FSSD Board of Education was previously awarded TSBA School Board of the Year in 1998, and accomplished the requirements necessary to become a Board of Distinction in previous cycles as well (1999-2000, 2001-2002, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2014-2015).
First elected in 1998, Tim Stillings is serving his fifth four-year term on the board. He is the School Board Chairman, with previous service includeing official appointments as Board Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice Chairman. For several years, Mr. Stillings was the Board-appointed delegate on the Tennessee Legislative Network, monitoring education-related pending legislation in the State Legislature, and advocating with the Legislative delegation that represents families served by the FSSD.
In 2015, Mr. Stillings received the most prestigious honor awarded to a School Board member by the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA), the School Board Member of the Year and Hal C. Henard Distinguished Service Award. This award is granted to a board member “who has distinguished himself or herself through outstanding service to his or her local board of education and community. He was also a member of the 2015 All-Tennessee School Board, serving as Honorary Chairman. Mr. Stillings was elected in the Fall of 2015 as a Director of the Tennessee School Boards Association, serving as the Associations’ Treasurer.
Initially in 2008, then again in 2011 and 2013, the National School Boards Association recognized Mr. Stillings’ significant contribution to public education by presenting him the National Distinguished Service Award. In 2009, Mr. Stillings achieved Level V boardsmanship status, Master Board Member, from the Tennessee School Boards Association, the highest level of boardsmanship certification. He was a member of the FSSD Board of Eduction both in 1998 and 2015 when it was named by the Tennessee School Boards Association as the “Tennessee School Board of the Year”, as well as when the Board received the “Board of Distinction” designation from TSBA in 1999, 2008, and 2014.
He has been active in his service to the school system, serving voluntarily in 1997 as chairman of the Technology for the Future Task Force and then on a long-range Technology Planning Committee. He also served on the Financing for the Future Task Force, engaging FSSD stakeholders to come together, understand the unique mission of the FSSD, and develop economic strategies for the future sustainability of the district.
His community involvement includes membership in the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce (Williamson Inc.), the United Methodist Church, and a former Director of the Franklin Rotary Club. He is a member of the Leadership Franklin class of 2017, an eight-month program whereby participants develop knowledge of Franklin, an understanding of issues and organizations in Williamson County, and a vision for local improvements. He previously has served on the Education Committee of Franklin Tomorrow, a community based visioning-to-reality initiative. He and his family have been a part of five international mission trips in recent years, building school, church, and community facilities with The Nicaragua Project; constructing electrical and clean water infrastructure in Honduras; and delivering medical/dental/pharmacy services to residents of poverty stricken communities in Uganda through Raise the Roof. On many a weekend, he can be found at Carnton Plantation, playing for the Franklin Farriers, a local vintage baseball team playing the sport by the rules that governed the game in 1864.
Mr. Stillings is the principle owner of YOUniqueProperties, managing a portfolio of residential rental properties. His education includes a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University and further professional development from Belmont University, the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and the Southeast School of Banking at Vanderbilt University.
Alicia Spencer Barker, Au.D.
Dr. Alicia Spencer Barker has two children in FSSD schools and has been an active member of her children’s PTO. She has served as PTO Chairman at Moore Elementary School and Vice President of the FSSD Executive PTO. She has completed training at the state, regional and national levels, and has attained the credit necessary to achieve Level III Boardsmanship. In addition, she served as a member of the FSSD Board of Education’s School Equity Task Force.
With two active boy scouts, she and her husband both volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America. She and her family are active volunteers for Room In the Inn through her local church. Her experience outside of school includes service through the Junior League of Nashville, where she received the 2006 Paragon Award for First-Year Active members. Her volunteer efforts through Junior League include time fundraising and chairing various committees. She also completed the Young Leaders Non-Profit Board Training in Nashville as well as the Fast Track New Business Ventures training program through the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Barker is a practicing Doctor of Audiology with Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center in Franklin. She also enjoys running and spends much of her personal time training for marathons and races.
Robert Blair has served on the Board of Education since 2003 and currently holds the office of Vice-Chair. In 2016, Mr. Blair was named to the Tennessee School Boards Association All-Tennessee School Board, an honor granted to only five School Board members across the state. In 2011, Mr. Blair achieved Level V boardsmanship status, a Master School Board Member, from the Tennessee School Boards Association, the highest designation a School Board member can earn.
Mr. Blair is continually looking for opportunities to increase his knowledge of school-related issues and holds professional memberships in the national and state affiliate of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NBSE). He was recognized in 2009 for Outstanding Board Training by the National Alliance of Black School Educators. In 2015, he was elected President of the Greater Nashville NABSE affiliate (GNABSE).
His service includes work with Leadership Franklin and Youth Leadership Franklin, My Friend’s House, WAVES, Franklin/Williamson County Boys and Girls Club, and Franklin Tomorrow. He is also Education Director at Cummins Street Church of Christ. He owns B. Media Communications, a strategic planning and board development agency that provides communications strategies for non-profits.
A Franklin native and graduate of the Franklin Special School District, Mr. Blair is a strong community advocate.
First appointed to serve a two-year vacancy in 2008, Mrs. Newman is now serving her second four-year term on the board, currently in the role of treasurer. By participating in training at the local, state and national levels, she has attained Level II Boardsmanship status.
Throughout her time on the Board thus far, she has also served as a member of the school equity committee and on the strategic planning communications task force with the goal of communicating and engaging all constituents on the goals, vision and passion of the FSSD.
She and her husband, Phil, have three children, all of whom attended FSSD schools at various ages. Mrs. Newman is employed by STAR Physical Therapy with a degree in Allied Medicine from The Ohio State University. She is active in her school community, church and neighborhood.