Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


TEA Launches "Pencils to Paychecks" Ad Campaign

Start keeping an eye – and ear – out for TEA’s new TV, print and radio ads this month. Thanks to a NEA advertising grant, TEA launched a new statewide advertising campaign called “Pencils to Paychecks” featuring TEA members and small business owners who graduated from Tennessee public schools.

The goal of Pencils to Paychecks is to connect local public schools and educators with the communities they serve. As you know, a strong, successful community is built on a foundation of strong, successful public schools – making everyone accountable for the success of Tennessee’s children, not just educators.

Receiving the grant money from NEA provided an opportunity for TEA to combat all of the negative rhetoric surrounding public schools and put out a positive message that Tennessee educators are doing great things every single day.

TEA knows our public schools are producing thousands of graduates each year who later become the lifeblood of our communities, and it is time for business leaders and community members to know it, too.

To get this message out statewide, TEA planned a comprehensive TV, print and radio advertising campaign that will run September through March. The TV commercials will air in Chattanooga (WRCB), Knoxville (WBIR), Memphis (WREG), Nashville (NewsChannel 5) and Tri-Cities (WJHL). Print ads will appear in business journals in the metro markets and in community newspapers in rural markets. Radio ads will air on public radio stations and on the Titans Radio Network which airs on 58 stations statewide.

The Titans Radio buy includes a special “TEA Scholar Athlete of the Week” feature during every Titans football game. A different high school senior will be honored each week for his or her outstanding academic and athletic achievements. Each student will receive a plaque signed by Titans’ Head Coach Mike Munchak and TEA President Gera Summerford.

Visit www.PencilsToPaychecks.org to see the ads and learn more about the campaign.

The Faces of Pencils to Paychecks

The Pencils to Paychecks print and television ads feature TEA members and small business owners who graduated from Tennessee public schools.

One series of ads features a father and daughter from Robertson County. Jerry Duncan is a graduate of Robertson County Public Schools and now owns his own business, Lee’s Building Center. His daughter, Katelyn Duncan, teaches math at East Robertson High School and was recently honored as her school’s New Teacher of the Year.

The second series of ads feature Allan Benton, a former educator who now owns Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Monroe County. Best known for his bacon, Allan has become a household name not only in Tennessee, but nationwide. Prior to starting his own business, Allan was a school counselor in Monroe County and an active member of TEA.

Alongside Allan in the television commercials is Metro Nashville teacher Sheila Garcia. Sheila teaches at Isaac Litton Middle School – the location for the ad shoots – and also serves on the Metro Nashville Education Association executive board.

Get Involved in the Campaign! 

Join TEA in spreading the word about the great things happening in Tennessee’s public schools. Share the link to the Pencils to Paychecks website, www.PencilsToPaychecks.org, with your friends and family through social media.

TEA is also looking for more quotes to include on the website. Ask a local business owner who graduated from a public school to submit a quote to appear on www.PencilsToPaychecks.org. Quotes from educators and business owners may be submitted to Chris Watson at cwatson@tea.nea.org.

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