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About Us


Appreciating, Developing & Supporting School Staff

Founded in 1980 as the Tennessee School Boards Insurance Trust, our mission initially focused on supporting local school boards with employee benefits. As we evolved, so did our purpose. In recognition of the invaluable contributions of school staff, we expanded our mission to include employee recognition, appreciation, and development.

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

~John F. Kennedy

Our Trustees

Chairman-At-Large Representative

David has served on the Hancock County Board of Education since 1980, and has been chairman of that board since 1999. He was appointed to the Utrust Board of Trustees in 1986 and served as the vice-chairman for several years. In 2005, he became the first at-large representative elected by the membership. He became Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 2007. David is the general sales manager for Edde Chevrolet in Rutledge, TN. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the TNRMT. He served as president of TSBA in 1999 and served on the TSBA Board of Directors for ten years. He is the former chief of the Sneedville Volunteer Fire Department, and also served as the Chairman of the Deacons at the First Baptist Church of Sneedville.

West Tennessee Representative

Dr. Joseph Fisher of Parsons has been elected to the Utrust Board of Trustees to complete an unexpired seven-year term. Representing West Tennessee school systems, Dr. Fisher has been a member of the Decatur County Board of Education since 2020 and has served as Chairman since 2022. He holds a doctorate in Theology and has been a respected leader in education throughout his career. Dr. Fisher previously served as Assistant Commissioner of Education, overseeing services for students with disabilities statewide. His extensive knowledge of Tennessee school districts and his ability to relate to people make him a valuable asset to the Utrust Board. Dr. Fisher is committed to promoting recognition and appreciation of every individual student and staff member in schools.

Middle Tennessee Representative

Bryson has for many years been active in community leadership activities in Fayetteville and Lincoln County.  She is a past President of Fayetteville Main Street Board of Directors, Secretary of Leadership Lincoln Board of Directors, a member of Girls Youth Softball Board of Directors, Secretary of Youth Leadership Lincoln Committee, and a member of Lincoln County Health System Foundation.  She is the mother of two children. She has been a member of the Fayetteville City Board of Education since 2020.She holds a BBA in Business Administration with emphasis in Human Resources Management and Services. She is a Payroll Coordinator for Pepsico (Frito-Lay).

Middle Tennessee Representative

Dawn is a member and former chairman of the Putnam County Board of Education. She has served on that board since 2012. She was appointed to the Utrust Board of Trustees to fulfill the unexpired term of Don Weathers who chose not to seek re-election to the Wilson County Board. Dawn is an attorney affiliated with Fry, Fry, Knight & Murphy in Cookeville. She is also an adjunct professor of Business Law at Tennessee Technological University. She is the mother of fraternal twins.  

 She was appointed in 2013 to the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities by Governor Bill Haslam to represent the Upper Cumberland Development District and she has been chairman of Kids Putnam since 2012.

East Tennessee Representative

As an accomplished educator with 33 years of experience in the field of education, I am now transitioning into a new phase of my career with my service as a board member with the McMinn County Board of Education. Throughout my teaching career, I have dedicated myself to fostering an environment of learning and growth and empowering students to reach their fullest potential. My journey as an educator has equipped me with a diverse skill set, and I am excited to leverage my experience and passion for education in new and meaningful ways. I continue to seek opportunities to make a positive impact while embracing the freedom and flexibility that retirement affords.

East Tennessee Representative

Norma Tate has been a member of the Grainger County School Board since 1998. Tate has also served as a CTSO Advisory Board Member for Rutledge and Grainger High Schools. She was the PTO President for eight years and was the Athletic Booster Club Secretary and Treasurer for Rutledge High School. She has was appointed to the Utrust Board of Trustees in 2010. Tate owns two businesses, including Norma’s Cut and Curl and Superior Catering. She is also a member of Shiloh Methodist Church where she is active in the women’s ministry.

West Tennessee Representative

Jasper has been a member of the Crockett County Board of Education since his election in 1990 and currently serves as chairman of the board. He was appointed to the Utrust Board of Trustees in 2005. In 2007, he was elected to a one year term and in 2008, he was elected to a three year term by the membership of the Trust. Jasper is currently the city attorney for Bells and county attorney for Crockett County. He is a trustee, deacon and Sunday school director for Alamo First Baptist Church. Jasper serves as director of ASPELL Manor, Boy Scouts, Carl Perkins Center, and the Crockett County Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the county ethics committee, County Industrial Board, County Technology Committee, Constitution and Bylaws Committee of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, County Park and Recreation Committee and the Lions Club.

What is Utrust

Utrust is an organization that began in 1980 as the Tennessee School Boards Insurance Trust. Its mission was to assist local school boards with employee benefits. The name was changed to Utrust and employee recognition, appreciation and development was added to the mission. It is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees elected by member school boards. Historically, its primary focus has been the administration of unemployment compensation for local school boards.

Over the years, members of Utrust have saved millions of dollars in unemployment costs. This is a result of the strong governance of the Board of Trustees and their commitment to provide the best services possible to school boards across the state of Tennessee.

In 2008, trustees voted to establish a school employee recognition and appreciation program (EAP) for member school boards. As part of the program, eight appreciation days were established during each school year to recognize various groups of school employees. The Utrust staff develops packets specifically for elementary, middle, and high schools to use in celebrating a different group of employees in each of the appreciation days. These packets are filled with suggestions about how students can use their talents and creativity to honor school employees.The Utrust staff also develops a packet for each appreciation day for use by the board and superintendent for system-wide support and celebration of employees.

Because it is not enough to honor employees on a single day each year, a G-Force (G for gratitude) was added to the Utrust Employee Appreciation Program. the G=Force is tasked with being certain that every school employee is appreciated every week of the school year.  The Employee Appreciation Program is designed to teach students leadership skills while they learn to recognize and express appreciation to those who make a difference in their lives each day. Although students may provide tokens of appreciation to the employees being honored, the emphasis is upon sincere expressions of appreciation.

Utrust makes  tools available to help students and their leaders to be able to easily catalog photos, videos and other documents in a format that can be used to create lifetime memories for the honorees. Utrust continues to assist boards in recognizing, appreciating, supporting and developing employees and the students they serve.