Meredith McMackins from Finley Elementary School named to Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation Educator Advisory Council

Meredith McMackins from Finley Elementary School named to Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation Educator Advisory Council


Council will help determine the best resources to combat learning loss in students


Dyersburg, Tenn. — Meredith McMackins from Finley Elementary School – Finely, TN has been named to the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) inaugural Educator Advisory Council, which will serve as a consulting body to help determine the best resources to best meet the needs of students across Tennessee. 


Twenty-one Tennessee educators were selected from 115 applicants to serve on the council, representing 20 school districts in all three regions of the state. With less than one third of Tennessee third graders able to read proficiently, GELF aims to utilize the council’s combined 290 years of experience to meet students and families where they are with the tools they need to strengthen early literacy and combat learning loss.


“Educators play the biggest part of our future generation’s story,” said James Pond, president of GELF. “Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation is honored to recognize their role, learn from their experience, and hear from their perspective to gain a better understanding of what our students need to become successful readers and future leaders. Together, we will work together to combat learning loss and strengthen early literacy.” 


McMackins says, “Thanks to GELF’s K-3 Book Delivery program, I’ve witnessed firsthand its positive impact by seeing students engaged with high-quality literature and instructional materials. As a member of the Educator Advisory Council, I’m committed to helping increase the number of proficient readers across our state. I’m truly thankful for this incredible opportunity and look forward to working with and learning from the other educators on the Council.”   


The primary responsibility of the Educator Advisory Council will be to select the books that students and teachers from across the state will be mailed through GELF’s K-3 Book Delivery program in Summer 2022. Through its K-3 Book Delivery program, GELF collaborates with Scholastic to mail high-quality, age-appropriate books to kindergarten through third grade students and teachers over the summer to combat learning loss and support learning in the home. In Summer 2021, GELF mailed books to 90,000 students and teachers across Tennessee, at no cost to families or school districts.

Less than one third of Tennessee third graders read proficiently. Research shows that two to three months of reading proficiency is lost for students who do not read over the summer, and Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) 2021 scores show that disruptions to education during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a five-percentage point decline in third grade reading proficiency. Research shows that placing books and resources directly into the homes of families helps combat learning loss.

The 2021-2022 Educator Advisory Council represents 15 K-3 teachers, one library media specialist, and five school district leaders. 

See below for a full list of the selected 2021-2022 GELF Educator Advisory Council members.

Stefanie Bishop, Second Grade Teacher, Hardin County

De'Shadrian Campbell, Kindergarten Teacher, Hardeman County

Tammy Clark, First Grade Teacher, Knox County

Tara Comerford, Third Grade Teacher, Athens City

Tony Dalton, PreK-1st Instructional Coach, Hamblen County

Lauren Dean, First Grade Teacher, Robertson County

Chris Dickerson, Kindergarten Teacher, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Lauren Effler, PreK-12 Curriculum & Instruction Supervisor, Union County

Lorena Georger, Second Grade Teacher, Newport City School

Xavier Hamler, Elementary Education Supervisor, Bedford County

Taylor Harvey, Librarian, Hamilton County

Molly Jones, First Grade Teacher, Sullivan County

Angie Manor, District Literacy Coordinator, Hickman County

Meredith McMackins, Second Grade Teacher, Dyer County

Shirley McMorris, Early Literacy Advisor, Shelby County

Melody Sadler, First Grade Teacher, Overton County

Melisha Simmons, First Grade Teacher, Warren County

Sarah Stephenson, Kindergarten Teacher, Cheatham County

Alexis Wade, First Grade Teacher, Shelby County

Alexandra Whited, Third Grade Teacher, Hawkins County

Christie Wimberley, Second Grade Teacher, Henry County


For more information on GELF and the Educator Advisory Council, visit

About GELF

Governor's Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) equips Tennessee's children with books and innovative literacy tools that encourage lifelong learning for a brighter future. GELF is a nonpartisan 501c3 driven by a mission to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee by acting as a thought leader, advisor, and catalyst for programs across the state. These programs include Birth-5 Book Delivery through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, K-3 Book Delivery, Caregiver Engagement, Book Buses, and Storybook Trails. GELF was founded in 2004 by former Gov. Phil Bredesen as a public-private partnership to sustain Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Tennessee. GELF has grown from solely a book-gifting program to an early literacy organization driven by a vision where all Tennessee children have access to the resources, guidance, and support they need to become lifelong learners. For more information, visit or, or call toll-free at (877) 99-BOOKS.