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TN CEC Executive Board

President Alicia Pence
Headshot of Alicia Pence
Alicia Pence, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Pence graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Ph.D. in Special Education and was awarded numerous accolades for her service and dedication to the field. She currently teaches a wide range of classes at Middle Tennessee State University, mentors pre-service and in-service special educators, as well as facilitates state-wide professional development trainings and holds the office of faculty advisor for the Council for Exceptional Children Professional Student Organization. Most importantly, Dr. Pence is the mother of a young son, Preston, who was diagnosed with autism at eighteen months of age.
Immediate Past President Amy Callender
Amy Locke Callender
Amy Locke Callender, PhD, serves as a lecturer in the special education program at Tennessee Tech University. With 20 years of service working with children and adults who are differently abled and their families she continues to research and explore multifaceted ways to better serve this population.  She serves as a faculty advisor for the TN Tech’s SCEC organization. 
Treasurer Callie Welch
callie welch

Mrs. Callie Welch serves as a lecturer at Tennessee Tech University in the special education program. Callie is in her 6th year as an educator and is currently pursuing her EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at East Tennessee State University. Her research interests include school culture and climate, inclusive and co-teaching practices, and behavior intervention in the classroom setting. 

Secretary Open Position  
CAN Coordinator Luann Ley Davis
Luann Lee Ley Davis UofM Pro Headshot
Dr. Luann Ley Davis is an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University. She has worked in the special education field for nearly 20 years. Her research includes peer-mediated instruction, general curriculum access, and technology for students with exceptionalities. She teaches courses in systematic instruction, direct instruction, behavior management, and general curriculum access/adapted curriculum. Luann has served as the CAN Coordinator for Colorado, and North Carolina prior to joining the TN Exec Committee. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Membership Coordinator Allison Oliver
Allison Oliver
Allison Oliver, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Austin Peay State University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in special education and assessment with a focus on behavior management and strategies for mild and moderate-severe disabilities. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi.
Communications Co-Chair Cate Smith
Cate Smith, Ph.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Special Education Program at the University of Tennessee. Her research interests include using assistive technology to support learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities and post-secondary education for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
Communications Co-Chair Jennifer Cook
Headshot of Jennifer Cook
Jennifer Cook, Ph.D., is a research coordinator with the Department of Educational Foundations and Special Education at East Tennessee State University. She has worked in special education since 1995 and is passionate about supporting learning and behavior for students with disabilities in public school settings. Jennifer received her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in special education at ETSU and UTK.
Member At Large  

Joan Grim is a Senior Lecturer in the Special Education Program at the University of Tennessee. Her professional interests include preparation of pre-service special educators to teach preschool and school age children with comprehensive disabilities. She serves as the faculty advisor for UTK Student Council for Exceptional Children.


Past Presidents

  • 2020 and 2021 Cindy Lang, Carson-Newman University
  • 2018 and 2019 Joan Grim, University of Tennessee
  • 2016 and 2017 Alexandra Da Fonte, Vanderbilt University
  • 2015 Clinton Smith, University of Tennessee at Martin
  • 2014 Kim Moffett, Lee University
  • 2013 Julie Crowe, Metro Nashville Schools
  • 2012 Clinton Smith, Shelby County Schools
  • 2011 Pamela Hudson, Hamilton County Schools
  • 2010 Cel Franklin, Metro Nashville Schools
Last Updated:  6 February, 2024

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