Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason

Group will advocate for quality early education policies as key to learning, communities

Carthage, Tenn. – Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason has joined a growing statewide coalition of municipal and county mayors in support of the advancement of early education as a priority to address deficient reading and math scores for most third-grade students in Tennessee’s public schools. Mason joins nearly 100 Tennessee mayors as part of Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (TQEE), a statewide, bipartisan advocacy organization.

“We can and must do a better job of educating young Tennesseans in the critical early years of learning to set the stage for success in middle school, high school and beyond,” said TQEE Executive Director Mike Carpenter.

With a new governor and large turnover in the state legislature because of retirements, the Mayors’ Coalition wants to ensure that new policymakers continue current early education investments and expand programs and policies proving to be successful. The coalition believes the state has made significant progress in improving student outcomes, but that there is much more to do to elevate Tennessee’s citizens and communities.

“I strongly urge our governor and legislature to continue to promote early literacy with proven efforts like Read 2 B Ready,” said Carpenter. “I believe this program helps our young children to establish a firm foundation for their education journey. I believe we need to continue to improve the quality and expand pre-kindergarten programs across the state and support our teachers with quality training and coaching.”

The Mayors’ Coalitions’ ranks include Adamsville Mayor David Leckner, Alamo Mayor John Avery Emison, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham, Benton Co. Mayor Brett Lashlee, Bolivar Mayor Julian McTizic, Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis, Brownsville Mayor Bill Rawls, Camden Mayor Roger Pafford, Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton, Cannon County Mayor Brent Bush, Carroll County Mayor Joseph Butler, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, Chester County Mayor Barry Hutcherson, Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell, Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, Crockett County Mayor Gary Reasons, Decatur County Mayor Mike Creasy, Dekalb County Mayor Tim Stribling, Dover Mayor Lesa Fitzhugh, Dyer County Mayor Chris Young, Fayette County Mayor Skip Taylor, Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, Franklin County Mayor David Alexander, Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon, Giles County Mayor Melissa Greene, Grainger County Mayor Mike Byrd, Greene County Mayor Kevin Morrison, Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady, Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain, Hardeman County Mayor Jimmy Sain, Hardin County Mayor Kevin Davis, Hawkins County Mayor Jim Lee, Haywood County Mayor David Livingston, Henderson Mayor Robert King, Henderson County Mayor Eddie Bray, Henry County Mayor Brent Greer, Hickman County Mayor Mark Bentley, Hohenwald Mayor Danny McKnight, Houston County Mayor James Bridges, Humphreys County Mayor Jessie Wallace, Huntingdon Mayor Dale Kelley, Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist, Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady, Jefferson County Mayor Mark Potts, Knox County Mayor Glen Jacobs, Lake County Mayor Lenny Johnson, Lauderdale County Mayor Maurice Gaines, Lawrence County Mayor T. R. Williams, Lawrenceburg Mayor Blake Lay, Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash, Lewis County Mayor Jonah Keltner, Lexington Mayor Jeff Griggs, Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman, Linden Mayor Wes Ward, Lobelville Mayor Robbie Moore, Loudon County Mayor B. Bradshaw, Macon County Mayor Steve Jones, Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris, Marion County Mayor David Jackson, Marshall County Mayor Mike Keny, McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland, McNairy County Mayor Larry Smith, Meigs County Mayor Bill James, Milan Mayor B. W. Beasley, Monroe County Mayor Mitch Ingram, Moore County Mayor Bonnie Lewis, Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire, Overton County Mayor Ben Danner, Paris Mayor Carl Gerrell, Parsons Mayor Tim David Boaz, Perry County Mayor John Carroll, Pickett County Mayor Carey Garner, Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter, Ripley Mayor Jon Pavletic, Robertson County Mayor Bill Vogle, Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron, Scotts Hill Mayor Jessie Powers, Selmer Mayor John Smith, Sequatchie County Mayor Keith Cartwright, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters, Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason, Springhill Mayor Rick Graham, Stanton Mayor Allan Sterbinsky, Stewart County Mayor Robin Brandon, Tipton County Mayor Jeff Huffman, Trousdale County Mayor Steven Chambers, Union City Mayor Terry Hailey, Union County Mayor Jason Bailey, Van Buren County Mayor G. Wilson, Warren County Mayor Jimmy Haley, Waverly Mayor W. B. Frazier, Wayne County Mayor Jim Mangubat, Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum and White County Mayor Denny Robinson.

Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (TQEE) is a statewide advocacy organization focused on education policy from birth to third grade. Our bi-partisan coalition is comprised of business, law enforcement, faith, education and civic organizations and individuals in communities across Tennessee. The group’s members support high quality early education to improve academic achievement, boost workforce development and enhance quality of life in our communities. Learn more by visiting our website at

For more information, contact TQEE Executive Director Mike Carpenter, (901) 331-0153; or Levi Stein, Hall Strategies, (615) 242-8856.