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Adjunct Instructor of Education
Adjunct Faculty
The Millard and JJ Oakley School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts Part Time and Adjunct Faculty
B.S., Belmont University
M.S., Tennessee Technological University
Ed.S., Tennessee Technological University
Ph.D., Middle Tennessee State University

Dr. Penny Thompson has been an educator since 1982. She taught two years in Texas and three years at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy before joining the Lebanon Special School District in 1991, where she taught early grades to 10 years. She was named Byars Dowdy Teacher of the Year and LSSD Grades K-5 Teacher of the Year in 2000. In 2001, she served as Byars Dowdy Assistant Principal, then moved to a central office position in 2004 in her current role as Instructional Coordinator and Pre-K Director.

Dr. Thompson earned her Master’s Degree and Educational Specialist Degree in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee Technological University. In 2009 she began teaching with Cumberland University as an Adjunct Professor.

In 2015 Dr. Thompson earned her Ph.D. in Literacy Studies from Middle Tennessee State University. She had served on several Tennessee Department of Education advisory boards such as the Early Literacy Advisory Task Force, the Commissioners Early Literacy Council, and currently on the Reading 360 Literacy Advisory Council.  Additionally, she serves on the Middle Tennessee State Advisory Commitee.

In 2022-23 Dr. Thompson was named the Tennessee State Supervisor of the Year.

Dr. Thompson’s professional philosophy is that every child deserves high-quality education regardless of their background, and the beginning of of a child’s educational career begins with reading and writing proficiency.


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Adjunct Lecturer of Public Service Management
Adjunct Faculty
The Millard and JJ Oakley School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts Part Time and Adjunct Faculty
B.A., University of Nebraska at Omaha

Since 1970 Bill R. Phillips, senior partner with Windrow Phillips Group, has been involved in and around government at the Federal, State, and Local levels. He has served in executive leadership positions at the local, state, and federal levels as well as a top executive in higher education, journalism, and government relations.

Prior to entering government relations consulting in 2007, Phillips served as Nashville, Tennessee’s first deputy mayor during the Administration of Mayor Bill Purcell. In 2000, Phillips returned to serve in the same position for Mayor John Cooper.

In 1994 he moved to Nashville from Washington, D.C. to assume the position of associate vice chancellor for university relations at Vanderbilt University at the conclusion of a year-long fellowship at The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

As Associate Vice Chancellor, Phillips established a Washington, D.C. based government relations office for Vanderbilt as well as expanded government relations with Nashville and the State of Tennessee. As a fellow at the First Amendment Center, he co-authored the book “Nothing Sacred” which examined the relationship between the media and political leaders with an emphasis on privacy and fairness issues. He has been a guest lecturer at Cumberland, Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, and Harvard universities.

Prior to moving to Nashville, Phillips served in a variety of positions in the Administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Positions included chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Education, deputy director of U.S. Office of Personnel, chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, executive director of the political action committee, Fund for America’s Future, and CEO of the 1988 Republican National Convention. He was assistant campaign manager for operations of the 1992 Bush-Quayle Campaign Committee.

In Nevada, Phillips was chief of staff for Gov. Robert List as well as campaign manager for his election committee. From 1970 to 1978 Phillips was a political reporter and editor for Gannett newspapers in California and Nevada, where he was member of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorials at the Nevada State Journal.

Phillips has served as a political organization instructor and international elections observer in Russia, Republic of Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, East Timor, and Grenada.
He and his late wife, Candy, have three grown children and seven grandchildren. A native Texan, he is a Vietnam veteran where he served on Advisory Team 1 of MACV.


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Adjunct Instructor of Fine Arts
School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts
Adjunct Faculty
The Millard and JJ Oakley School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts Part Time and Adjunct Faculty
B.F.A., Cumberland University
M.B.A., Cumberland Univeristy