MEET THE TEAM
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 and worked part time as Program Administrator with the Event Team, supporting professional development for educators. In 2022, Connie stepped in to the role of Interim Director and continues to lead the Center as a champion for all the great opportunities we have been working on. 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kristina joined the Center in 2017 as an Administrative Assistant to the event team and currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Access for All Learning Network with the TN Department of Education. 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).
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.