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Dear Colleagues,

The tragic events that occurred at Inskip Elementary School on Wednesday have deeply affected our community at large and especially many members of the UT family, who are relatives, friends or colleagues of the two administrators.

I know that you join me in extending thoughts and prayers to Principal Elisa Luna and Assistant Principal Amy Brace and their families, our fellow educators on the faculty and staff of Inskip Elementary, and the students of the school during this difficult time. Ms. Brace is the daughter of Jim Brace, associate dean of students for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Both Ms. Luna and Ms. Brace are accomplished educators and alumni of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, to which they have both remained closely connected throughout their careers.

We have been closely involved with Inskip faculty and staff in an extensive outreach and research project at the school for several years, including placing numerous students as both full-time graduate teaching interns and involving undergraduate students in short-term teaching experiences as part of our teacher preparation program. Ms. Luna also has worked with the college and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, and others, on furthering civic engagement and outreach in our community.

Acts of senseless violence such as these are acute reminders of how fragile life can be and of how important it is for us to support one another as a community, especially as a community committed to the transformative power of education and scholarship.


Jimmy G. Cheek