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Bill Hallam: Pat Summitt: One of the greatest Tennesseans

Staff Reports • Updated Jul 6, 2016 at 6:00 PM

We lost one of the greatest Tennesseans of all time last week. Anyone who knew Pat Summitt knows she was intensely focused on her mission – which in her case, was winning basketball games – but she also never lost sight of the bigger picture in the midst of that. 

She made certain that every woman that played for her graduated and was prepared for life after basketball. She also made certain she was a part of the larger community. 

FOCUS Act is Law

Tennessee is making dramatic progress in higher education through the Drive to 55, and the Focus on College and University Success Act is the next step. The FOCUS Act creates local boards for the four-year state universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents system – Austin Peay, ETSU, MTSU, TSU, Tennessee Tech and the University of Memphis – enhances TBR’s ability to focus on the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 technical schools, and strengthens the role of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to provide greater coordination across the state.

Healthier Tennessee Communities

Over the past few months, we’ve designated Decatur, Dyer, Hickman, Loudon and McMinn counties, Jackson-Madison County and the cities of Franklin, Germantown, Kingsport and Tullahoma as “Healthier Tennessee Communities” for their work to improve the health of their citizens. I’m proud of our Healthier Tennessee Communities for encouraging and enabling healthy living, and I hope all Tennessee communities will strive to do the same. For more information, visit healthiertn.com/communities.

Read to be Ready

Crissy continues to promote the importance of summer reading through Read to be Ready, our statewide campaign to increase third grade reading proficiency from 43 percent to 75 percent by 2025. I joined her at J.E. Moss Elementary in Antioch recently to read with students at Camp Discover, one of 20 Read to be Ready summer programs across the state.

A few other highlights from last month:

On June 1, we celebrated Tennessee’s 220th birthday with a visit to Girls State.
On June 3, we announced that ServiceMaster will be headquartered at Peabody Place in Memphis and signed the Rural Economic Opportunity Act in Huntingdon. On June 6, I visited with employees at our correction and revenue departments.
On June 8, I visited with Children’s Services employees in Knoxville.

We awarded a Site Development Grant to Shelbyville and Bedford County on June 10 and helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Musgrave Pencil Co.

On June 15, I presented the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards and visited with assistant principals participating in the first Governor’s Academy for School Leadership.

I spoke at the National Charter Schools Conference in Nashville on June 27. 

Crissy and I hope you are enjoying the summer. We feel blessed to live in the greatest state in the greatest country in the world and grateful for the many men and women who have sacrificed to make that possible. 

Bill Haslam is the Republican governor of Tennessee.

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