Nicole Chandler, Executive Director   Nicole Chandler is a native of Knoxville and is an investment of the East Knoxville community. A graduate of Austin-East High School, Nicole earned her Associate of Arts from Pellissippi State Community College, her Bachelor of Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, and her Master of Science in Social Work from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is in the final stages of completing her Doctorate of Education. As a campus Family Manager and Student and Family Support Coach at Fulton High School for over a decade. Nicole is a respected advocate for youth and families in challenging circumstances, is a committed, proven partner with youth-serving organizations and brings a servant’s heart and passion for community change.

Nicole Chandler, Executive Director

Nicole Chandler is a native of Knoxville and is an investment of the East Knoxville community. A graduate of Austin-East High School, Nicole earned her Associate of Arts from Pellissippi State Community College, her Bachelor of Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, and her Master of Science in Social Work from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is in the final stages of completing her Doctorate of Education. As a campus Family Manager and Student and Family Support Coach at Fulton High School for over a decade. Nicole is a respected advocate for youth and families in challenging circumstances, is a committed, proven partner with youth-serving organizations and brings a servant’s heart and passion for community change.

Bruce Charles, Chief Financial Officer   Bruce Charles has an undergraduate accounting degree from Clarion University and a Master of Accounting degree from Bowling Green State University. He is also a Marine and Vietnam Veteran. Bruce started his business career with Citizen’s Utilities Company as a plant accountant before spending three years as a tax senior with the international public accounting firm, Arthur Anderson & Co. Bruce then joined Johnson & Johnson. Bruce ran not only the domestic operations of JJFC but also the international operations, which included subsidiaries in the UK and Germany, as well as joint ventures in Italy, France, Sweden and Canada. Bruce is currently mentoring more than 40 young Knoxville entrepreneurs.

Bruce Charles, Chief Financial Officer

Bruce Charles has an undergraduate accounting degree from Clarion University and a Master of Accounting degree from Bowling Green State University. He is also a Marine and Vietnam Veteran. Bruce started his business career with Citizen’s Utilities Company as a plant accountant before spending three years as a tax senior with the international public accounting firm, Arthur Anderson & Co. Bruce then joined Johnson & Johnson. Bruce ran not only the domestic operations of JJFC but also the international operations, which included subsidiaries in the UK and Germany, as well as joint ventures in Italy, France, Sweden and Canada. Bruce is currently mentoring more than 40 young Knoxville entrepreneurs.

Dr. Kathy Sims, Director of Human Resources   Dr. Kathy Dykes Sims was born and raised in Newport, TN where she graduated from Cocke County High School in 1975. She is a three-time graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree (‘79) in Elementary Education; a Master of Science degree (‘84) in Educational Administration; and an Ed.D. (‘04) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.  Dr. Sims’ tenure with the school system spanned 37 years serving as a teacher, assistant principal, founding principal at Hardin Valley Elementary, supervisor, and, during her last twelve years of service, she served as the district’s Chief Human Resources Officer.  After retiring from the Knox County School system in September 2016, Dr. Sims joined the Change Center in October 2017 as a Human Resources consultant. In April 2018, Dr. Sims was hired full time at the Change Center serving as Director of Human Resources.  Dr. Sims attends church at Mount Calvary Baptist Church where she has served as a trustee and an usher. She currently serves as a member of the hospitality committee, finance committee, and Director of VBS. She is a member of the Knoxville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of Greater Knoxville.  Dr. Sims resides in Knoxville with her husband, John Sims. They are the parents of one daughter, Kristina.

Dr. Kathy Sims, Director of Human Resources

Dr. Kathy Dykes Sims was born and raised in Newport, TN where she graduated from Cocke County High School in 1975. She is a three-time graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree (‘79) in Elementary Education; a Master of Science degree (‘84) in Educational Administration; and an Ed.D. (‘04) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Dr. Sims’ tenure with the school system spanned 37 years serving as a teacher, assistant principal, founding principal at Hardin Valley Elementary, supervisor, and, during her last twelve years of service, she served as the district’s Chief Human Resources Officer.

After retiring from the Knox County School system in September 2016, Dr. Sims joined the Change Center in October 2017 as a Human Resources consultant. In April 2018, Dr. Sims was hired full time at the Change Center serving as Director of Human Resources.

Dr. Sims attends church at Mount Calvary Baptist Church where she has served as a trustee and an usher. She currently serves as a member of the hospitality committee, finance committee, and Director of VBS. She is a member of the Knoxville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of Greater Knoxville.

Dr. Sims resides in Knoxville with her husband, John Sims. They are the parents of one daughter, Kristina.

 
Shalee Tipton, Director of Operations   Shalee Tipton has lived and worked in East Tennessee for 25 years and holds a BS in Organizational Management with a concentration in Marketing. She is a licensed Affiliate Broker and her roles in business have ranged from Marketing and Relationship Director to VP of Marketing and Chief Operating Officer. She spent 10 years working with youth, parents, and grandparents through a Maryville non-profit where she built relationships with donors and community businesses as Director of Development. She worked to establish marketing strategies to assist with gaining new clients as well as retention efforts and spent 4 years leading youth as Director of Athletics. This experience has made the Change Center a natural fit.  Shalee has two children, one of which is a police officer and the youngest is currently attending college. She is a member of River Oaks Community Church and has a passion for serving others. Her experience and heart have led her to the youth of the Change Center where she is proud to serve.

Shalee Tipton, Director of Operations

Shalee Tipton has lived and worked in East Tennessee for 25 years and holds a BS in Organizational Management with a concentration in Marketing. She is a licensed Affiliate Broker and her roles in business have ranged from Marketing and Relationship Director to VP of Marketing and Chief Operating Officer. She spent 10 years working with youth, parents, and grandparents through a Maryville non-profit where she built relationships with donors and community businesses as Director of Development. She worked to establish marketing strategies to assist with gaining new clients as well as retention efforts and spent 4 years leading youth as Director of Athletics. This experience has made the Change Center a natural fit.

Shalee has two children, one of which is a police officer and the youngest is currently attending college. She is a member of River Oaks Community Church and has a passion for serving others. Her experience and heart have led her to the youth of the Change Center where she is proud to serve.

 
Artece Slay, Job & Career Development Coach   Artece Slay is a native of Knoxville and a proud graduate of Fulton High School. (Go Falcons!) She is also proud to be an alumna of Tennessee State University (Go Tigers!) where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication and Theatre with an emphasis in Radio and Television Production. After graduating, she worked in the Nashville Film and Video Production community until relocating back home to Knoxville. Upon returning home, Artece served as an Americorps Promise Fellow with Knoxville's Promise. She was also an Assistant Director for Knoxville-Knox County CAC Workforce Connections Summer Youth Employment and Training Program. Prior to coming to the Change Center, Artece was a Career Specialist at the American Job Center. She is a member of the National Association for Career Development Professionals and is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator.

Artece Slay, Job & Career Development Coach

Artece Slay is a native of Knoxville and a proud graduate of Fulton High School. (Go Falcons!) She is also proud to be an alumna of Tennessee State University (Go Tigers!) where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication and Theatre with an emphasis in Radio and Television Production. After graduating, she worked in the Nashville Film and Video Production community until relocating back home to Knoxville. Upon returning home, Artece served as an Americorps Promise Fellow with Knoxville's Promise. She was also an Assistant Director for Knoxville-Knox County CAC Workforce Connections Summer Youth Employment and Training Program. Prior to coming to the Change Center, Artece was a Career Specialist at the American Job Center. She is a member of the National Association for Career Development Professionals and is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator.

Richard Widener, Operations Manager   Richard Widener was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. He’s a graduate of Gibbs High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from MTSU. He’s a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma, Inc., Iota Mu chapter. He’s the father of two beautiful and intelligent daughters. Growing up, he attended Green Elementary and Austin-East High School. He proudly serves as a member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church on MLK Ave. Richard is excited to be employed at the Change Center and to be part of the change in his hometown community. He looks forward to assisting the youth in their development of becoming accomplished individuals by helping to identify their goals and dreams and creating a path for them to achieve success. His favorite quote and words he lives by is “This too shall pass,” meaning that no matter what your current situation - it will change.

Richard Widener, Operations Manager

Richard Widener was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. He’s a graduate of Gibbs High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from MTSU. He’s a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma, Inc., Iota Mu chapter. He’s the father of two beautiful and intelligent daughters. Growing up, he attended Green Elementary and Austin-East High School. He proudly serves as a member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church on MLK Ave. Richard is excited to be employed at the Change Center and to be part of the change in his hometown community. He looks forward to assisting the youth in their development of becoming accomplished individuals by helping to identify their goals and dreams and creating a path for them to achieve success. His favorite quote and words he lives by is “This too shall pass,” meaning that no matter what your current situation - it will change.

 
Officer Ricky Gallaher, Knoxville Police Department

Officer Ricky Gallaher, Knoxville Police Department

Austin McCarley, Food Service Supervisor   Austin is a 2016 graduate of The University of Tennessee, specializing in dynamic communication. During his time in college, he interned with Nashville start-up, Bandposters, where he coordinated client marketing strategies and customer integration. He has since spent time managing local restaurants, as well as serving as a consultant to several local businesses. During the 2017-2018 school year, Austin was a resident at First Baptist Concord, working within their youth ministry. In this role, he spent time creating and marketing youth-focused events, as well as teaching large crowds, all while fostering and maintaining mentor relationships with middle and high school youth. He continues to volunteer with youth as a small group and worship leader. Never one for a boring time, he loves music, fitness, and a good laugh.

Austin McCarley, Food Service Supervisor

Austin is a 2016 graduate of The University of Tennessee, specializing in dynamic communication. During his time in college, he interned with Nashville start-up, Bandposters, where he coordinated client marketing strategies and customer integration. He has since spent time managing local restaurants, as well as serving as a consultant to several local businesses. During the 2017-2018 school year, Austin was a resident at First Baptist Concord, working within their youth ministry. In this role, he spent time creating and marketing youth-focused events, as well as teaching large crowds, all while fostering and maintaining mentor relationships with middle and high school youth. He continues to volunteer with youth as a small group and worship leader. Never one for a boring time, he loves music, fitness, and a good laugh.

 

Board of Directors:

David Rausch- Director, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Co-Chair

Pastor Daryl Arnold- Senior Pastor, Overcoming Believers Church, Co-Chair

Lisa Jacobson- Jacobson Board Consultants, Treasurer

Ursula Bailey- Law Office of Ursula Bailey

Chris Battle- Battlefield Farms, Owner

Dr. John Avant- Life Action Division of Life Action Ministries, President

Adam Fritts- Community Schools Field Supervisor

Sterling Henton- Sterl the Pearl ®

Renee’ Kelly- Director, Emerald Academy

Nathan Langlois- Principal, Austin East High School

Jonathan Mayfield- VP/Commercial Lending Manager, Home Federal Bank

Mike Murray- President, GM, & Owner, Knoxville Ice Bears

Alvin Nance- CEO, LHP Development and Management, LLC

Damon Rawls- Principal Strategist, DRC Business Consulting

Tyvi Small-Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Dr. Shara Shoup- Chief Operating Officer, Emerald Youth Foundation

Douglas Yoakley- CPA, Wealth Management Consultant, PYA Waltman Capital, LLC

Youth 4 Change Representative


Together, we can make a greater impact.