The Tennessee Charter School Center, an advocacy and research group, has hired Memphis nonprofit leader Maya Bugg as its next CEO.

Maya Bugg
PHOTO: Tennessee Charter School Center
Maya Bugg

Bugg, 33, is founding director of the Tennessee branch of Education Pioneers, a nonprofit organization seeking to develop education leaders. Prior to moving to Memphis for that job, she was a classroom educator in Durham, N.C., and a policy consultant for the U.S. Department of Education. Bugg also is the co-founder of Uniting Pedagogies of Leaders Invested in Transformation Now (UPLIFT Now!), which trains educators in culturally responsive teaching methods.

She is scheduled to begin her new job on Sept. 28 to work in behalf of Tennessee’s growing charter sector.

Maya is an experienced educator and leader,” said William DeLoache, the center’s chairman. “She has proven her experience in building the kind of relationships, strategic collaborations and community outreach that we need.”

The Tennessee Charter School Center, organized in 2013 through a merger of the Tennessee Charter School Incubator and the Tennessee Charter Schools Association, helps to start charter schools and advocates for a high-quality charter sector.

Bugg succeeds founding co-CEOs Justin Testerman and Greg Thompson, who left earlier this year to join Nashville-based Project Renaissance and Memphis-based Pyramid Peak Foundation, respectively.

Having earned her Ed.M. from Harvard University and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Bugg is pursuing her Ed.D. in organizational leadership and policy at the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University. She committed to her new studies before receiving the offer from the Charter Center — something she considers a “happy coincidence.”

“Almost every reading and conversation that I do in this program is relevant,” she said. “It will give me more perspective.”

As CEO, Bugg will be charged with supporting charter schools across Tennessee through advocacy and advice, bringing in new high-quality charter schools, and helping charter schools work together.

“What will really impact my work is the professional experience I have in North Carolina and Tennessee, working with all different families in all different walks of life,” she said.

Bugg said she hopes her role at the Charter Center can foster conversations about diversity in educational leadership roles.

“I think it’s important that we’re having diversity in leadership roles across the spectrum,” she said. “On a personal level, it was a really big deal to go back to my students and say that you can be smart and successful as an African-American.”

“There’s room for all of us in this work,” she said.