Chattanooga 2.0 announces Keri Randolph as new executive director

Chattanooga 2.0, an organization dedicated to education equity in Hamilton County, has selected Keri Randolph as its new executive director.

She comes to Chattanooga 2.0 with more than 20 years of experience in public education, most recently serving as Metro Nashville Public Schools' chief strategy officer and executive officer of strategic investments.

She won't be a newcomer to Chattanooga, however. Between 2010 and 2017 she held leadership roles at the Public Education Foundation, the Hamilton County Department of Education and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she helped launch the UTeach bachelor's degree in science and engineering, a degree program that provides accessible education in the theory and application of engineering.

"I've always called Chattanooga home," Randolph said in a phone interview. "And, so, this is a chance to come back home and work hard for a community that I care deeply about."

Randolph left Chattanooga in 2017 to earn a doctorate in educational leadership from Harvard University. Afterward, she moved to New Orleans, where she served as director of K-12 programs and professor of practice at Tulane University's School of Professional Advancement.

Randolph describes herself as a biochemist who became a teacher, a role she held for nearly 10 years before she moved to Chattanooga. But her interests soon turned toward making a collective impact in education.

"I am a teacher at heart. And I believe that K-12 public education is one of the most important levers for both the community and for kids and families. But alone, it cannot solve all the problems that it's often asked to solve," Randolph said. "I work really hard to solve problems for students and families and communities. But I believe that the way to do that is through collective action."

She said she also had a hand in launching Chattanooga 2.0 back in 2013.

"It really launched heavily in 2015. But we started conversations around it earlier than that. We were trying to figure out how to think deeply about what collective impact could look like in Chattanooga and Hamilton County," Randolph said.

Now, as executive director, she hopes to expand the organization's reach and influence.

"I really want to work to build Chattanooga 2.0's identity as a respected convener across a broad spectrum of local stakeholders," Randolph said. "And want to take what is sometimes called the 'Chattanooga way' to make sure that it's working for all Chattanoogans, but particularly in building a really strong cradle-to-career pipeline. And that takes collective action."

Randolph succeeds Jennifer Bronson, who has served as executive director since December 2021.

"[Randolph is] going to be great for Chattanooga 2.0 and great for Hamilton County," Bronson said in a phone call.

Bronson said she's leaving the organization because her husband, Tanner Bronson, who coached men's basketball at UTC, accepted a new coaching position in South Carolina.

"She's brilliant and wonderful. And I think 2.0 is going to be in excellent hands with Dr. Randolph," Bronson said.

Contact Carmen Nesbitt at cnesbitt@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @carmen_nesbitt.