September 27, 2012
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The City of Kingsport, nationally recognized for its innovation in advancing economic development through education, is hosting the third annual “Straight to the Top” conference, Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8 a.m. at the Meadowview Marriott Conference Resort and Convention Center.
Featured speakers in order of appearance include former State Sen. Jamie Woodson, President and CEO - SCORE; Tennessee Board of Regents Vice Chancellor Dr. Warren Nichols; Nika Maples, Texas Teacher of the Year and Author of “Twelve Clean Page”; U.S. Representative Phil Roe, and Dennis Bega, U.S. Department of Education Acting National Director of Regional Operations/ Office of Communications and Outreach.
This year, Kingsport City Schools, Sullivan County Schools and Northeast State Community College have taken the conference opportunity as an in-service day for faculty and staff, allowing educators to take full advantage of the innovative ideas and creative conversation sparked by conference speakers.
Kingsport has been at the forefront of aligning K-12 and post-secondary education efforts with its economic development goals. Today, Kingsport’s Academic Village, in the heart of downtown Kingsport, includes the Regional Center for Health Professions, the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, and the Pal Barger Regional Center for Automotive Professions. At the same time, Kingsport continues to draw additional interest from other colleges and universities interested in providing education in downtown Kingsport. Each day, Kingsport has more than 2,000 students on campus learning the skills necessary to join an increasingly well-educated work force.
In 2009, the City of Kingsport won the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s “Innovations in Government” award on the strengths of its higher education initiatives as well as the city’s “Educate and Grow” program, the nation’s first initiative by a city to provide scholarships to fund two years of post-secondary education for qualified students. Kingsport was one of the top two winners out of more than 700 applicants from across the country.