The goal is the make education “our community’s top priority.” At the helm of the Blount Education Initiative is a new, and first-ever, executive director, Bonny Millard. To welcome the former reporter to her new position, Alcoa Inc. hosted a reception in her honor at the Blount County Public Library.
The Blount Education Initiative developed out of Maryville College’s and Leadership Blount’s 2006 Leadership Summit when a group of education professionals, business and community leaders formed a study group to put into action the things discussed at the Summit. The group met for months developing goals and strategy designed to “make education the No. 1 priority” in Blount, said executive committee chair Mark Cate. In late fall, they began searching for an executive director.
Millard is a former education reporter and assistant city editor for the Daily Times newspaper. She will be responsible for putting together a campaign to promote education in the community and flesh out the organization’s goals. Her office is in donated space at the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, 201 S. Washington St.
The Initiative is privately funded by local businesses and individuals and seeks to raise awareness for all school systems in Blount, including county and cities.
A special treat at the reception was the food, which was prepared and served by Marty Durand’s Culinary Arts class at William Blount High School.
Guests at the reception, numbering more than 75, included representatives from Maryville College, Alcoa Inc., elected officials from the cities, county and state, members of the school boards and directors of schools, the University of Tennessee, Blount County Chamber of Commerce, family and friends.