With a heart for education and the arts, David Pickler and Pickler Companies have changed the landscape of learning for our Town’s high school students. Through our work in raising funds for, and sponsoring, the new Collierville High School, our community’s youth are now empowered to dream bigger than ever. Boasting the state-of-the-art Pickler Auditorium, a college-level campus, and delivering workforce development opportunities for students, Collierville High School has created a blueprint for the high school of the future.
In 2016, John Aitken, the former superintendent of Collierville Schools, called David saying he needed his assistance in creating a new high school. David eagerly accepted the challenge. A new, state-of-the-art building was more than needed because the current high school lacked adequate facilities. At the time, the current school eked along with existing infrastructure, cramming more than 2,500 high school students into an old middle school originally constructed for 1,600 students. They commandeered an elementary school field for football games and relegated the marching band to practicing wherever they could find a vacant parking lot.
The Town knew the kids deserved better.
John’s grand plans didn’t just stop with new facilities or even a new auditorium or football field. He envisioned a new type of high school where students could learn the skills needed to be competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Along with technical skills, he wanted them to learn practical skills such as auto mechanics, welding, nursing, IT and aeronautics. To do this, he hoped to provide them with real-world experiences. This meant creating partnerships with business leaders in the community interested in workforce development.
While the school received the majority of its funding from the town and state, the budget would not cover the entire cost of the 250,000 square-foot building he envisioned. “We’re going to need organizations to help us create the infrastructure and help us build this amazing structure.”
He asked David to oversee a capital-raising campaign for the new high school. We would need at least $1 million to reach our initial goal for the athletic and vocational training facilities and auditorium.
This was why Partners in Education (PIE) was created. As a fundraising arm for the new high school, PIE brought together business leaders and community members to raise funds for the new high school.
Ultimately, PIE achieved its goal of raising over $1.5 million to support the athletic, music, and vocational programs of the high school.
Because of the leadership and passion displayed for the Town of Collierville, the new 1,000-seat auditorium at Collierville High School was named after David and the Pickler Companies suite of professional firms. Pickler Auditorium boasts state-of-the-art audio and visual capabilities. This incredible auditorium will serve students for years to come as they pursue their dreams in the arts. Not only is this facility a legacy to the students, but also to Pickler Companies and our mission to deliver solutions and empower our community’s youth.
Because of the powerful partnership forged by David, A new opportunity arose when the school’s doors opened to its students in 2019. As previously mentioned, the new high school was built on the idea of giving students a unique advantage via workforce development opportunities. One of these opportunities was a beautiful television studio with the newest cameras, sound stage, and production technology.
After months of discussion between David, John Aitken, and Principal Roger Jones, our talk show, BullTV, was created. In February of 2021, BullTV premiered and has provided monthly programming since. Hosted by David Pickler, BullTV empowers, educates, and entertains while highlighting the citizens of Collierville who inspire and deliver solutions for a stronger community. Each month, David sits down with engaging guests and has an open, transparent dialogue about their unique role, initiatives, and legacy.
The equipment for the television studio was funded by the donations spearheaded by David and the Partners in Education Foundation.
BullTV is a tremendous opportunity for students as they film, edit, and produce the show. This initiative provides them with real-world production experience, an overarching theme of Collierville High School.
All-Steinway High School
Once the school was open, David reached out to a local partner, Amro Music, asking if they and Steinway Pianos would partner with him to build a music program that included several small practice pianos for the new Pickler Auditorium.
The partnership was quickly formed, and the addition of Steinway pianos made the school the first “All Steinway High School” in the Southwestern United States. Additionally, Pickler Wealth Advisors donated a $200,000 concert grand piano for Pickler Auditorium.
For the dedication ceremony, the school brought in acclaimed pianist Bruce Levingston to perform a concert on their new piano. Following the dedication ceremony, the first public performance in Pickler Auditorium featured the famed and historic Navy Band.
The CHS Athletic Foundation
In addition to helping create spectacular indoor facilities, David also provided financial, legal, and accounting services to the Collierville High School Athletic Foundation.
This foundation was created to raise funds for the new high school’s athletic facilities, including Dragon Stadium, a beautiful centerpiece to the campus. As a sponsor of this field, Pickler Companies is proud to bring the Friday Night Lights to a new generation of Dragons.