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Tennessee School Boards Association

David’s commitment to public education excellence was reinforced by his service to the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA.) Through the key relationships made to the imperative capital campaign he led, TSBA gave David the invaluable tools necessary to strengthen his love for the board members of Tennessee’s public schools. And because of his personal contributions, both financial and leadership, David was honored with the Pickler Conference Room and a host of accolades.


When David was elected as Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Education, under Tennessee law, all school board members were required to receive professional development. This “sharpening of the saw” would be supplied by the organization Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA), which, for over 70 years, has been delivering boardsmanship training and development to the 135 districts of Tennessee.

One of the most unique forms of public service is school boardsmanship, and professional development is instrumental for not only board members but also superintendents and schools. This development is key for policy and promotion – two driving factors for public education excellence.

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Upon his election as Chairman of Shelby County Schools in August of 1998, David automatically became a member of TSBA.

For the next several years, David would develop relationships with the boards and superintendents across the state – relationships that would last a lifetime and become instrumental in fueling the fire of David’s passion for public education advocacy.

One of these key relationships was with Tammy Grissom who serves as Executive Director for TSBA. David and Tammy bonded over their shared love of public education in Tennessee, and created a friendship that has benefited the thousands of teachers and students in the Volunteer State.

In 2001, the Shelby County Board of Education was named School Board of the Year – an honor that placed a spotlight on the board’s commitment to excellence.

Because of his years of commitment to TSBA’s mission, in 2003, David was elected to the organization’s board of directors. This would put him on the fast track toward service to TSBA. In 2004, David became Treasurer and then President-Elect in 2005. In 2006, he transitioned into the role of President where he served with passion and purpose.


In his presidency, David spearheaded a number of influential programs that benefited TSBA and the state of Tennessee. Most notably, because of his fundraising abilities, developed and chaired the Capital Campaign for TSBA. The campaign raised over $100,000 and empowered TSBA to acquire a new headquarters and retire all debt associated with the new renovations.

Not only did he raise funds through corporate partnerships which he fostered, but he capped off the financial goal through a personal donation.

Because of David’s passion for TSBA and his drive to deliver excellence for all Tennessee school board members, he was honored with the naming of the Pickler Conference Center at the new headquarters in Nashville.

In 2007, the Shelby County School Board was once again named School Board of the Year. Also, in that same year, David was recognized as School Board Member of the Year and received the C. Hal Henard Distinguished Service Award. David was selected by a panel of judges who voted him as recipient for his outstanding leadership and service over self.

2007 TN School Board Member of the Year/C. Hal Henard Distinguished Service Award/Scholar's Circle Award, created by Tennessee School Boards Association. This award is based on participation in board development activities within the last twelve months, specific accomplishments of the local board of education during the nominee's term on the board, and leadership activities at the local, regional, or state level. This is not specific to financial services and does not imply an endorsement, recommendation, or reflect the performance of the advisor. Click here more information.

Further, in 2007, he became a Charter Member of the Scholars’ Circle.

David’s efforts in Tennessee through TSBA led him to the national stage where he has received prestigious recognitions in the field of education.


A Partnership with APEF

In 2017, the American Public Education Foundation (APEF), our non-profit organization, partnered with TSBA and Apple to create the Tennessee Digital Resources Library. This groundbreaking initiative saw a vetting of open-source content to replace hard-cover textbooks across 14 high school courses, including Algebra I, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English I, Geometry, World History, and more. All content that was selected for the library aligned to state standards.

David and APEF provided logistical and administrative support, including sourcing of sponsors and funding of a part-time Project Coordinator.

At the teacher training session at TSBA, which included 14 teams (68 teachers), David and Pickler Companies presented a check for $58,000 to the project.

Tennessee School Boards Association
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