Tuesday, May 15 2012, 04:55 PM EDT
Chattanooga Woman Represents Tenn. at 'Mom Congress on Education'
Scottie Goodman Summerlin (above left) of Signal Mountain represented Tennessee at the 3rd annual Mom Congress on Education and Learning conference in Washington, D.C. April 29th through May 1st. Summerlin was chosen for her outstanding contributions and dedication to improving local schools.
A total of 51 delegates, representing each state and the District of Columbia, were selected by Parenting magazine from a record-setting number applications submitted through Parenting.com. They each received an all-expenses-paid trip to D.C. for the event, where they were able to connect with national leaders in education, Parenting editors, and past Mom Congress delegates to exchange ideas on how to improve our nation’s schools.
For the third consecutive year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan headlined the roster of education and advocacy leaders that addressed the delegates at the conference. Others that appeared included NBC News’ Education Nation, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move!, VH1 Save the Music, the United Nations Foundation, National PTA, National Education Association, Teach for America, Save the Children, Georgetown University and others.
"I loved representing Tennessee at the 2012 Mom Congress," says Summerlin. "I was so excited when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan promoted our state when he said 'Tennessee is leading the way when it comes to education reform in the United States.' Duncan was one of many national education leaders we were able to meet. It was also great to connect with moms from across the country. We compared notes and shared ideas about how parents can support our public schools. I look forward to sharing what I learned in Washington, D.C. with parents here in Tennessee."
Summerlin is passionate about her role as a public education advocate. The former television news anchor/reporter now serves as Nolan Elementary PTA President-Elect, Hamilton County PTA Communications Vice President and Tennessee PTA Communications Chair. She was selected to represent East Tennessee at the National PTA Conference this summer in San Jose, California. Summerlin also serves as the Education chair on the 2012 United Way of Chattanooga Campaign Cabinet and on the advisory board for the Mountain Education Foundation. Summerlin is a 2011 Leadership Chattanooga graduate, a Junior League of Chattanooga sustainer, and was named as one of Chattanooga's 2011 Women of Distinction.
Mandy Grisham (above right), from Memphis, was the 2011 Mom Congress Tennessee Delegate. After participating in Mom Congress, Grisham put together a parent panel for CNN for a National Town Hall meeting to discuss education reform. She had a "Delegate of the Week" blog spot on Parenting.com. The U.S. Department of Education invited Grisham to blog for its website and invited her to attend a reception and a private tour of the White House in December. Grisham has been back to Washington, D.C. several times to advocate for education reform. She is a former music teacher and is currently PTA President at Peabody Elementary in Memphis.
Grisham was Summerlin's mentor at the 2012 Parenting magazine Mom Congress in Washington, D.C.
Empowered and inspired by attending the conference, past delegates have returned to their states to create significant change in their school systems, affecting the lives of thousands of children nationwide. In 2010, delegates worked with Parenting editors at the conference to create the “Lesson Plan for Change”, a blueprint to empower parents to get more involved in their children’s education that appeared in Parenting School Years magazine and the bestselling companion guide to the documentary Waiting for Superman.
The 2011 class of delegates’ accomplishments include the creation of a nationwide book drive in support of early literacy, Books Make it Better; recognition through The White House “Champions of Change” program; the improvement of several school lunch programs across the country; and the development of new educational resources and programs in nearly every state, from early science education workshops in Florida to a new parental advocacy program, Camp Educate, in California.
Driven by the ever-increasing role that parents play in advocating for positive change in the education system, Parenting magazine launched the Mom Congress initiative in 2009 to celebrate and connect parents working to improve our nation’s schools. Each month, Parenting and Parenting.com give readers and the 25,000 Mom Congress members updated educational news and resources to help them make a difference and bring about positive changes for students.