MEET THE TEAM

event planning associate director Lisa crawford

Lisa Crawford

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

Lisa is an Associate Director at the Center and has over a decade of experience in professional development and event planning. She has worked with clients in creating and delivering professional development in the areas of health, reading, and parent involvement. For the past 14 years she has worked with clients on logistics and planning for professional development conferences, trainings, and other events. She flips houses as a hobby and is looking forward to retirement as a full time RVer. In the meantime, she enjoys anything outdoors!

event planning assistant director kristie wright

Kristie Wright

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Kristie has over 15 years of planning experience. She first began planning events for friends and family, which soon developed into planning weddings. In 5 years, she planned over 120 weddings before beginning full-time employment at UT. As the Assistant Director at CLEE, she manages the UT-CLEE Event Team. She has earned her Master’s degree, is a PMP-certified project manager, and is a member of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. Kristie is extremely proud of her event team and often refers to them as her ‘Rock Stars!” She recently earned CVENT certifications in event management and the mobile app.

event planner associate director, Lisa Crawford

Lisa Crawford

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

Lisa is an Associate Director at the Center and has over a decade of experience in professional development and event planning. She has worked with clients in creating and delivering professional development in the areas of health, reading, and parent involvement. For the past 14 years she has worked with clients on logistics and planning for professional development conferences, trainings, and other events. She flips houses as a hobby and is looking forward to retirement as a full time RVer. In the meantime, she enjoys anything outdoors!

event planner assistant director, Kristie wright

Kristie Wright

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Kristie has over 15 years of planning experience. She first began planning events for friends and family, which soon developed into planning weddings. In 5 years, she planned over 120 weddings before beginning full-time employment at UT. As the Assistant Director at CLEE, she manages the UT-CLEE Event Team. She has earned her Master’s degree, is a PMP-certified project manager, and is a member of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. Kristie is extremely proud of her event team and often refers to them as her ‘Rock Stars!” She recently earned CVENT certifications in event management and the mobile app.

DAVID FIELDS

SENIOR EVENT MANAGER

David is a Lead Event Planner for the Center for Literacy, Education and Employment’s (CLEE) Event Team. In this role, David manages the Partners in Education Conference and the Coordinated School Health Institute. David also assists with varying tasks and planning on other events with the Event Team. David first joined CLEE as part of the Adult Education (AE) Team in 2005. He and the AE Team worked with the Tennessee Division of Adult Education to provide professional development opportunities for Tennessee Adult Education supervisors, instructors, and paraprofessionals. David left CLEE in 2008 to become the Director of Development at WMMT, a community radio station and project of the Appalshop, Inc. There, he managed several grant projects and was responsible for all fundraising initiatives at the station. David also served as an executive member of the Appalshop Board of Directors. Prior to rejoining CLEE as an Account Manager for the Division of Rehabilitation Services Team in 2014, David worked as a Regulations Compliance Manager and Trade Show Manager for Intersign Corporation.

event planning senior event manager Kelsey marcengill

Kelsey Marcengill

SENIOR EVENT MANAGER

Kelsey joined the Center in 2016 as a Project Manager for the Events Team and was promoted to Program Administrator in 2017. Prior to working at the Center, Kelsey was an Event Manager at the Knoxville Convention Center for over four years. She coordinated and managed over sixty-five events a year, acting as a liaison between clients and the facility staff to ensure that events ran smoothly and successfully. Her experience also includes working at a local historic venue for over two years as the wedding/event coordinator where she managed over twenty weddings per year. Kelsey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Presbyterian College as well as minors in history and art history. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, reading, gardening, playing board games, and spending time with her friends and family.

event planner senior event manager, David Fields

DAVID FIELDS

SENIOR EVENT MANAGER

David is a Lead Event Planner for the Center for Literacy, Education and Employment’s (CLEE) Event Team. In this role, David manages the Partners in Education Conference and the Coordinated School Health Institute. David also assists with varying tasks and planning on other events with the Event Team. David first joined CLEE as part of the Adult Education (AE) Team in 2005. He and the AE Team worked with the Tennessee Division of Adult Education to provide professional development opportunities for Tennessee Adult Education supervisors, instructors, and paraprofessionals. David left CLEE in 2008 to become the Director of Development at WMMT, a community radio station and project of the Appalshop, Inc. There, he managed several grant projects and was responsible for all fundraising initiatives at the station. David also served as an executive member of the Appalshop Board of Directors. Prior to rejoining CLEE as an Account Manager for the Division of Rehabilitation Services Team in 2014, David worked as a Regulations Compliance Manager and Trade Show Manager for Intersign Corporation.

event planner senior event manager, Kelsey Marcengill

Kelsey Marcengill

SENIOR EVENT MANAGER

Kelsey joined the Center in 2016 as a Project Manager for the Events Team and was promoted to Program Administrator in 2017. Prior to working at the Center, Kelsey was an Event Manager at the Knoxville Convention Center for over four years. She coordinated and managed over sixty-five events a year, acting as a liaison between clients and the facility staff to ensure that events ran smoothly and successfully. Her experience also includes working at a local historic venue for over two years as the wedding/event coordinator where she managed over twenty weddings per year. Kelsey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Presbyterian College as well as minors in history and art history. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, reading, gardening, playing board games, and spending time with her friends and family.

event planning project manager Kristina ferrell

KRISTINA FERRELL

PROJECT MANAGER

Kristina joined the Center in 2017 as an Administrative Assistant to the event team and currently serves as a Project Manager and lead event planner. Prior to coming to UT, Kristina spent 5 years working in the insurance industry in both sales and customer service, which provided her with a great foundation in marketing and client satisfaction. Kristina graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Business. She then went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Tennessee, where she focused on marketing and promotions. An internship with the Appalachian State Sports Marketing department sparked her passion for planning and event management and she is excited to be a part of CLEE Events. Since beginning her career at CLEE, she has obtained her CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and her CAP (Certified Administrative Professional). Most of her spare time is spent enjoying life with her husband, son, and three dogs.

 

event planning event manager sam bishop

Sam Bishop

EVENT MANAGER

Sam joined the CLEE Events in 2018 as a Project Manager for the UTK-CLEE Event Team. Previously, Sam spent 3 years as a Lifestyle Director for the Del Webb Community in South Florida where she coordinated and managed over 20 events a month for older residents. The fun and interactive lifestyle she provided was instrumental in doubling resident numbers during her tenure. Sam also has three year’s experience as a wedding planner and five years as manager of a boutique dog hotel. In 2015, Sam was awarded a Bachelor’s of Science in Resort and Hospitality Management with a concentration in Event Planning from Florida Gulf Coast University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree with a goal of teaching at the college level.

event planner project manager, Kristina Ferrell

KRISTINA FERRELL

PROJECT MANAGER

Kristina joined the Center in 2017 as an Administrative Assistant to the event team and currently serves as a Project Manager and lead event planner. Prior to coming to UT, Kristina spent 5 years working in the insurance industry in both sales and customer service, which provided her with a great foundation in marketing and client satisfaction. Kristina graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Business. She then went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Tennessee, where she focused on marketing and promotions. An internship with the Appalachian State Sports Marketing department sparked her passion for planning and event management and she is excited to be a part of CLEE Events. Since beginning her career at CLEE, she has obtained her CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and her CAP (Certified Administrative Professional). Most of her spare time is spent enjoying life with her husband, son, and three dogs.

Event Planner Event Manager, Sam Bishop

Sam Bishop

EVENT MANAGER

Sam joined the CLEE Events in 2018 as a Project Manager for the UTK-CLEE Event Team. Previously, Sam spent 3 years as a Lifestyle Director for the Del Webb Community in South Florida where she coordinated and managed over 20 events a month for older residents. The fun and interactive lifestyle she provided was instrumental in doubling resident numbers during her tenure. Sam also has three year’s experience as a wedding planner and five years as manager of a boutique dog hotel. In 2015, Sam was awarded a Bachelor’s of Science in Resort and Hospitality Management with a concentration in Event Planning from Florida Gulf Coast University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree with a goal of teaching at the college level.

event planning exhibitor and media manager pat watson

PAT WATSON

EXHIBITOR & MEDIA MANAGER

“In telling a story, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, then a video is worth a thousand pictures.” One of Pat’s many passions is media production. With over 25 years’ experience as a videographer, editor and photographer, Pat has won multiple awards for his work. He has melded his love for media with a knack for interaction with the exhibitors he currently manages at numerous education-focused conferences for the Tennessee Department of Education. If you call him a “salesperson”, he laughs; but he also has a fondness for what he calls “his exhibitors” for all the conferences in which he is involved, and feels a special connection and responsibility to them. He considers it a personal challenge to fill (and often OVERfill) an exhibit hall. He has developed a special rapport with many of the exhibitors under his wing, and considers many of them friends. In his small amount of free time, he enjoys traveling, reading, listening to music and spending time with his daughter. In the future, he plans to put a home on wheels behind a truck and become a nomad, working on media projects at and for some of the most beautiful State and National parks in the U.S.

event planning program manager Chelsea flynn

Chelsea Flynn

PROGRAM MANAGER

Chelsea joined CLEE Events in 2019 as Project Manager for the UTK-CLEE Event Team. She has had a colorful career with jobs ranging from environmental educator, corporate team facilitator, camp administrator, and promotional branding manager before stumbling into her dream career in event management. A native Tennessean, she spent the last 6 years living in Asheville, NC, while traveling the world working for a corporate meeting planning company. She is thrilled to be back in East Tennessee, closer to her family. In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys planning trips, taking those trips, attending music festivals, renovating historic homes, and hiking with her dog.

Event Planner Exhibitor & Media Manager, Pat Watson

PAT WATSON

EXHIBITOR & MEDIA MANAGER

“In telling a story, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, then a video is worth a thousand pictures.” One of Pat’s many passions is media production. With over 25 years’ experience as a videographer, editor and photographer, Pat has won multiple awards for his work. He has melded his love for media with a knack for interaction with the exhibitors he currently manages at numerous education-focused conferences for the Tennessee Department of Education. If you call him a “salesperson”, he laughs; but he also has a fondness for what he calls “his exhibitors” for all the conferences in which he is involved, and feels a special connection and responsibility to them. He considers it a personal challenge to fill (and often OVERfill) an exhibit hall. He has developed a special rapport with many of the exhibitors under his wing, and considers many of them friends. In his small amount of free time, he enjoys traveling, reading, listening to music and spending time with his daughter. In the future, he plans to put a home on wheels behind a truck and become a nomad, working on media projects at and for some of the most beautiful State and National parks in the U.S.

event planner program manager, Chelsea Flynn

Chelsea Flynn

PROGRAM MANAGER

Chelsea joined CLEE Events in 2019 as Project Manager for the UTK-CLEE Event Team. She has had a colorful career with jobs ranging from environmental educator, corporate team facilitator, camp administrator, and promotional branding manager before stumbling into her dream career in event management. A native Tennessean, she spent the last 6 years living in Asheville, NC, while traveling the world working for a corporate meeting planning company. She is thrilled to be back in East Tennessee, closer to her family. In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys planning trips, taking those trips, attending music festivals, renovating historic homes, and hiking with her dog.

event planning program administrator Connie White

Connie White

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR

Connie has worked at the Center since 1990, first as a Graduate Research Assistant, then as Project Coordinator, and finally as Associate Director.  She retired in 2018 but since then has worked part time as Program Administrator with the Event Team, supporting professional development for educators.  Connie holds a doctorate in Education, a Master’s degree in Special Education, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, all proudly earned at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Before coming to the Center, Connie was a special education teacher in middle and elementary school.

event planning instructional design & event content management, Duren Thompson

Duren Thompson

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN & EVENT CONTENT MANAGEMENT

Duren has been supporting CLEE events since 2000. With over two decades experience in professional development and technology integration for educators, Duren serves the CLEE Events team as event content manager, website designer, and lead evaluator for a variety of statewide educational conferences and systems change initiatives. A popular presenter and educational content expert, Duren holds Master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee in both Instructional Design and Technology (2016) and K-12 Special Education (1997), as well as a Bachelor’s in Business (1988). She is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in qualitative research methods with an eye towards a doctorate in adult learning.

event planner program administrator, Connie White

Connie White

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR

Connie has worked at the Center since 1990, first as a Graduate Research Assistant, then as Project Coordinator, and finally as Associate Director.  She retired in 2018 but since then has worked part time as Program Administrator with the Event Team, supporting professional development for educators.  Connie holds a doctorate in Education, a Master’s degree in Special Education, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, all proudly earned at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Before coming to the Center, Connie was a special education teacher in middle and elementary school.

event planner instructional design & event content managment, Duren Thompson

Duren Thompson

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN & EVENT CONTENT MANAGEMENT

Duren has been supporting CLEE events since 2000. With over two decades experience in professional development and technology integration for educators, Duren serves the CLEE Events team as event content manager, website designer, and lead evaluator for a variety of statewide educational conferences and systems change initiatives. A popular presenter and educational content expert, Duren holds Master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee in both Instructional Design and Technology (2016) and K-12 Special Education (1997), as well as a Bachelor’s in Business (1988). She is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in qualitative research methods with an eye towards a doctorate in adult learning.

event planning director, Aaron Kohring

Aaron Kohring

DIRECTOR

Aaron is the Director of the Center for Literacy, Education & Employment and has also served in the roles of research leader and professional development trainer since 1999. He has extensive experience with standards-based education and has specific content knowledge and experience in the areas of Adult Reading, Mathematics/Numeracy, Learning Disabilities (LD), and Workforce Development. Previous work included a National Science Foundation-sponsored Project TIAN (Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy), which piloted a professional development model in Adult Numeracy. He has also been involved in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education’s (OCTAE) LINCS project by serving as the director for the Region 2 Professional Development Center and has been trained as a Learning to Achieve (LD) and Adult Numeracy Instruction (ANI) facilitator. Aaron has previous volunteer teaching experience in a variety of settings – one-on-one tutoring, ABE, GED, and ESOL.

event planner director, Aaron Kohring

Aaron Kohring

DIRECTOR

Aaron is the Director of the Center for Literacy, Education & Employment and has also served in the roles of research leader and professional development trainer since 1999. He has extensive experience with standards-based education and has specific content knowledge and experience in the areas of Adult Reading, Mathematics/Numeracy, Learning Disabilities (LD), and Workforce Development. Previous work included a National Science Foundation-sponsored Project TIAN (Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy), which piloted a professional development model in Adult Numeracy. He has also been involved in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education’s (OCTAE) LINCS project by serving as the director for the Region 2 Professional Development Center and has been trained as a Learning to Achieve (LD) and Adult Numeracy Instruction (ANI) facilitator. Aaron has previous volunteer teaching experience in a variety of settings – one-on-one tutoring, ABE, GED, and ESOL.

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