Roane State’s Brunner selected for Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute

UPPER CUMBERLAND – Roane State’s vice president for institutional effectiveness, planning and student success initiatives has been invited by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) to participate in the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute (CTLI). Karen Brunner will join 31 other leaders from higher education, K-12 education, government, business and nonprofit organizations in the 2021-22 cohort.

“I’m excited to be able to participate in the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute with such a diverse group of leaders from across the spectrum of education in Tennessee,” Brunner said of her invitation. “The unprecedented circumstances of the past year have brought into focus critical inequities that must be acknowledged and candidly examined in order to give all students an opportunity to attain the education they need to achieve their potential.”

According to the announcement issued earlier this month, SCORE will provide learning opportunities for CTLI participants and translate that learning into action during the one-year program. The goal of CTLI is to eliminate barriers to postsecondary education and completion in Tennessee — work that is made more urgent due to education disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Vice President Brunner and the incredible work she is doing here, especially in light of the challenges we’ve faced during the pandemic,” said Dr. Chris Whaley, Roane State President. “While her list of accomplishments is long, I must highlight her recent efforts to bring equity to the forefront of conversations at every level and to ensure the basic needs of our students are met. It should come as no surprise that she was selected for this prestigious opportunity. Her passion for addressing these important issues is unmatched.”

“Community college enrollment rates in Tennessee dropped significantly in the fall of 2020, most notably for Black and Hispanic students,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “Given the compounding effect the pandemic is having on college enrollment, persistence, and completion, it is more urgent than ever that we partner with the leaders in this cohort to ensure that every Tennessee student has the opportunity and support needed to attend and complete postsecondary education.”

Since 2016, the CTLI has created a space where leaders from across the state collectively focus on eliminating barriers to postsecondary education and completion. Over the coming year, this diverse group of leaders will work to identify the barriers and equity gaps that exist in our postsecondary system and advocate within their own communities to drive systemic change.

The CTLI is a partnership with The Hunt Institute, an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy and a recognized leader in the movement to transform public education. The participants chosen for this cohort bring varied expertise and perspectives to the program. 

“Through the CTLI learning opportunities provided by SCORE and the Hunt Institute, I look forward to being able to translate what I have learned into action for students at Roane State,” Brunner added.

Visit to view the full list of current CTLI cohort participants as well as alumni.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) believes all Tennessee students deserve success in college, career and life. SCORE supports a unified and coordinated approach to education — from kindergarten through postsecondary — focused on helping all students complete high school and postsecondary education, earning the diplomas and credentials needed for a rewarding career. An independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy and research institution, SCORE was founded in 2009 by Senator Bill Frist, MD, former US Senate Majority Leader. SCORE measures success by the academic growth and achievement of Tennessee’s students. Learn more at

Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit or call (865) 882-4554. Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at

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