HT Expands State-wide Volunteer Leadership

This summer, Humanities Tennessee added five new members to its board of directors representing all three Grand Divisions: Union City, Memphis, Johnson City, Nashville, and Chattanooga. “We are proud and humbled to welcome these five dynamic leaders who excel in their professional lives, are active in their local communities, and volunteered to lend their time and expertise to grow the impact of HT across the state,” said Tim Henderson, executive director. “Their service is especially important as we celebrate 50 years serving Tennesseans, while we look for new creative ways to make a difference for future generations.”

Board members provide governance and fiscal oversight, and strategic guidance for HT, while also serving as community ambassadors for the mission to foster community and civility in Tennessee through public programs that examine and reflect upon ideas, stories, history, arts, and culture. We welcome these leaders, and look forward to sharing their involvement in HT’s work over the coming months and years.

Judy Barker was a Democratic member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing the 77th District. Barker joined the Tennessee State House of Representatives in 2009. Barker works as an attorney and in Estate Planning. Barker earned her Bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She went on to receive her Master’s degree in social work from Memphis State University. She then received her J.D. from the University of Memphis.


Tonya Dyson is the Executive Director of Memphis Slim Collaboratory. Tonya Dyson wears so many hats: non-profit arts executive, music educator, serial entrepreneur, community leader, and festival organizer. You name it. She’s also a beloved artist who has not only built a devoted following in a creative landscape of her own design but has helped develop and nurture that same environment for countless other Memphis artists. She’s the genuine article in Memphis’ new soul underground.


Heather M. Hoover earned a Ph.D. in American Literature from UT Knoxville in 2010.  She has been teaching writing, humanities, and literature at Milligan University since 2007, where she holds the George and Janet Arnold Endowed Chair of the Humanities.  She directs the writing program and the Master of Arts in Humanities. She lives in Johnson City, Tennessee, with her family.


Allison Stansberry loves talking to people; learning their stories, and figuring out how to help them accomplish their goals. She currently does this as a Business Analyst at Parallon in Nashville, TN; the revenue cycle arm of HCA Healthcare. Before her decade career in healthcare, she ran an estate sale company, was an international admissions counselor, and was a ghost tour guide. Her educational background includes an MBA from Belmont University in Nashville, TN with a concentration in Healthcare and a BA in English and Creative Writing from Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, VA. She also holds certifications from the Grief Recovery Institute as a Grief Recovery and Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist.


Dr. Chandra Ward is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga teaching urban sociology and a number of other sociological topics. Her research is guided by the philosophy of helping to amplify traditionally marginalized voices.  This is evident in her research on public housing residents and her textbook, an intersectional introduction to sociology reader titled, Voices From the Margin: Fresh perspectives on an introduction to sociology.”  Professor Ward also uses photography and social media to help make sociology accessible to those outside of academia. It can be found here at

Learn More about Humanities Tennessee

Click the images below to learn about our Grants program, Southern Festival of Books, and Student Reader Day. We invite you to peruse our website to learn more.






Humanities Tennessee is a non-profit organization that fosters community and civility in Tennessee through engaging programs that examine and reflect upon ideas, stories, history, arts and culture. In addition to our own programming, we partner with a variety of organizations across the state who are similarly encouraging community dialogue and activities that push us to think deeper and develop mutual respect and understanding for each other.