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Commission Board Updates

Michael Dumont
Michael Dumont
Jan McNally
Jan McNally
Johnnie Wheeler
Johnnie Wheeler

By Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –

We are so fortunate to have three new board members who joined us in FY18. Governor Bill Haslam recently appointed Michael Dumont of Linden, Jan McNally of Oak Ridge, and Johnnie Wheeler of Cookeville to sit on the Tennessee Arts Commission Board for a five-year term.

Michael is a strong community and business leader. He currently owns and operates the Commodore Hotel Linden, a vintage 1939 hotel he restored that has received statewide recognition as a unique venue. He also bought and restored the oldest commercial building in downtown. Continuing preservation efforts, he expanded the Commodore Hotel with a new property known as Miss Berdie’s Boarding House in Linden and is developing the Commodore Victorian Village at Clifton.

Jan’s leadership, professional achievement and extensive community service will be a great asset to the Commission. She is currently a part-time consultant with Covenant Health. She retired as director for the Journey to Excellence, Leadership Development at Covenant Health in 2013. Previously she was the president and chief administrative officer for Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge.

Johnnie is a long-time community leader whose long list of accomplishments includes president of the Cookeville Rescue Mission Board, president of the Cookeville Jaycees for two terms and vice president for Alliance against Domestic Violence. She recently retired after 37 years with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency.

I also want to say thank you to the three former board members who completed their appointments this year (although as all former board members know, one can never quite leave the Commission). We have been so honored that they gave up so much of their personal time to help us cultivate the arts in Tennessee.

Stephanie Conner
Stephanie Conner
Lee D. Yeiser
Lee D. Yeiser
Dr. Leo McGee
Dr. Leo McGee

This past term was not Stephanie Conner’s first rodeo as she previously served a five-year term. She was board chair both terms and is half of Tennessee’s only mother-daughter chair legacy. It would be hard to find someone who is a more passionate advocator or greater champion for the arts than Stephanie, who has served not only on behalf of Tennessee arts but also regionally and nationally for the past 15 years. Her graceful diplomacy is unifying, and she has helped the Commission become a better agency.

Lee Yeiser is the epitome of Southern elegance and a true supporter for rural arts. She is passionate about how the arts can positively affect rural communities. A retired educator, Lee brought her steady, even-handed leadership to the committees she served. Her warmth and infectious laugh are missed, but we are comforted to know she continues to work for the arts in her beloved Savannah, TN where she helped bring a public art project to the city, long known as the Catfish Capital of the World.

Dr. Leo McGee’s long and distinguished career in education made him a positive force on the board—he was always asking engaging and challenging questions. His smile and warm personality bring people together, but it is his diverse interests that keep you hooked, such as his love for tennis and hydrangeas—he is known nationally as an expert grower.

I am so grateful to know and work with the amazing people in Tennessee, including the Commission staff, who love the arts. I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a happy and healthy New Year.

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