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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam Joins the George W. Bush Institute as the Sammons Enterprises Fellow

As a former Governor of Tennessee and mayor, Haslam is particularly meaningful to the Bush Institute's emerging work on preparing students for prosperous, self-determined lives.

October 11, 2021

DALLAS, Texas – The George W. Bush Institute announced today that former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has joined the organization as the Sammons Enterprises Fellow. In this role, he will leverage his significant expertise in education to support the Bush Institute’s Education Reform Initiative portfolio of work. 

The Bush Institute's education work is anchored in the belief that all children can learn and succeed – and that young people deserve agency in their futures. We use data and research to showcase the need for accountability, effective school principals, and quality pathways from education into the workforce. The Bush Institute also provides grants to our Nation's neediest schools so they can extend, update, and diversify the collections in their libraries.

Haslam's experience as a former Governor of Tennessee and mayor is particularly meaningful to our emerging work on preparing students for prosperous, self-determined lives. 

"Governor Haslam has been an unwavering champion of education and opportunity in Tennessee. The reform programs implemented under his leadership demonstrate that a system centered on excellent teachers, high expectations, and quality assessments can improve student learning,” said Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the Bush Institute. "We are excited to welcome Governor Haslam and are looking forward to working with him to drive meaningful change. We are thankful that Sammons Enterprises, Inc. has chosen to invest in our work to support our education efforts."

“I am honored to add Governor Haslam to our list of distinguished endowed fellows. This advances our goal of establishing the Bush Institute as a thought leader in this country,” said Ken Hersh, CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

"The Bush Institute's Education Reform Initiative is doing important work, and I am thrilled to join their team. President and Mrs. Bush have championed high-quality education for all students for decades, and I am excited to help advance this work," said Governor Haslam.

Under Haslam’s leadership, Tennessee became recognized as a national leader in education, economic development, and efficient and effective government. During his two terms as governor, Tennessee students were the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement, and the state was a national leader in using data to craft policies that drove gains in student outcomes. 

As part of Haslam’s Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs, the state became the first in the Nation to offer high school graduates and adults two years of community or technical college free of mandatory tuition. Approximately 450,000 private sector jobs were created during his time in office, and Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached the lowest level recorded in state history.