The Board of Directors for Opportunity Nashville, a leading advocacy organization for educational equity in Nashville public schools, has voted to appoint Lonnell Matthews as the organization’s new board chair.
With a wealth of experience in both public service and youth development, Matthews brings a unique blend of leadership, vision, and passion to this vvolunteer role. As a graduate of Metro Nashville Public Schools and a longstanding advocate for educational equity, he has a deep understanding of the challenges facing students in Nashville and a dedication to driving positive change.
Matthews currently holds the elected public office of Juvenile Court Clerk. His office serves as the government sponsor for My Brother’s Keeper in Nashville, an initiative first launched by President B Barack Obama to address opportunity gaps for young men of color.
In 2007, Matthews was the youngest African American elected to the Metro Council at age 27. He later served as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement. Before becoming a full-time public servant, Matthews worked in youth outreach services for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee for 15 years.
“I believe change starts at the ballot box, which is why I’m excited to have an elevated role leading the Board of Directors for Opportunity Nashville. This is the only organization in Nashville exclusively working to train and recruit quality candidates to run for School Board, while also engaging parents and educators in the election process. I look forward to helping further advance the organization’s mission and create lasting impact,” Matthews said.
Opportunity Nashville Executive Director Tanaka Vercher expressed confidence in the Board’s selection of the new chair. “Lonnell has walked the halls of Metro Schools as a student living in North Nashville, as a youth outreach worker, and as a public servant. Through these experiences, he has seen the direct impact that educational inequities have on young people’s lives. We are grateful for his willingness to share his passion and knowledge with our organization as we work to ensure that every child in Nashville has access to a high-quality public education,” Vercher said.
Matthews officially assumed the role of board chair in December. Opportunity Nashville is already leveraging his expertise and energy to engage voters during the upcoming School Board elections in 2024.