Members of the Vision Prep governing body represent a well-respected cross-section of the Memphis community. Our board is largely a home-grown group – eight of the nine Governing Board members are lifelong Memphians. One member was extensively trained through the Leadership Memphis program and holds a leadership position at FedEx. Another member holds a position at FedEx as Senior State & Local Government Affairs Representative. Four members of the board are active in the Memphis educational community and maintain deep ties throughout local public, independent and charter schools. The final three members consist of: a local attorney who grew up in Whitehaven, a University of Memphis graduate who is now COO of a local asset management company, and our first parent representative who has been extremely active in Vision Prep advocacy. While our Board members each have different professions, they all share an overwhelming dedication to improving public education in the city of Memphis. Their leadership will provide exceptional accountability for academic achievement, policy making aimed at achieving the school’s stated educational goals, oversight to ensure fiscal stability and integrity. Board members will serve as the most important Vision Prep role models for the school’s core values of FIRST (Focus, Integrity, Respect, Self-determination and Teamwork). They will work to ensure the fulfillment of the school’s mission to prepare kindergarten through fifth grade students with the academic and ethical foundation necessary to excel in middle school, thrive in high school and graduate from college. The following are biographies of the members of our Vision Prep Governing Board:
Tom Benton (School Director/Founder)
Tom Benton is a Memphis native, experienced public school educator, urban independent school administrator and Building Excellent Schools Emerging Leader. He attended Sea Isle Elementary and Colonial Junior High in the Memphis City School system and eventually graduated from Laurelwood High School. Mr. Benton received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree from Union University (Germantown campus). Mr. Benton worked in the Memphis City School system for 18 years serving as a Mathematics teacher, basketball coach and Title I Facilitator. For eleven years Mr. Benton served as Principal of New Hope Christian Academy at their locations downtown and in Frayser helping to grow their enrollment from 50+ to 450+ students. He is currently guiding the work to bring Vision Prep to the young people of downtown and south Memphis. During Mr. Benton’s 18 years of teaching and Title I experience in Memphis City Schools his accomplishments include: leading seventh grade Mathematics students at Vance Junior High School (deregulated) when they moved from a MCS ranking of 39th in CAT end of year gains to a ranking of 2nd city-wide; teaching the first 7th grade Pre-Algebra and 8th grade Algebra classes at Vance in 1990; and serving as a founding member and instructor at the Math, Science, Computer Institute (MSCI) for gifted 8th grade math and science students city-wide. As Principal of New Hope Christian Academy for eleven years, Mr. Benton led teachers and kindergarten students (80% of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch) to consistently average above the 95th percentile in Reading and above the 70th percentile in Mathematics as measured by the SAT 10 norm referenced assessment. Also, from 2009 to 2010 in 3rd through 6th grade, an average of 81% of New Hope students scored at or above the 50th percentile in Reading Comprehension and 79% in Mathematics as measured by the CTP-4 norm referenced assessment.
Carrie Carpenter (Board Vice-Chair)
Carrie Carpenter is a native Memphian and has lived in the Memphis area for most of her life. After graduating high school from St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Carrie received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance and Masters of Arts and Teaching from the University of Memphis. Carrie is married to Stephen Carpenter, and they have four children. Before having children and after the last of the four went to kindergarten, Carrie has had a wide range of experiences in education. She taught social studies in Trenton, NJ at The New Grange School which caters to normal-to-high IQ students with severe learning disabilities; founded the Princeton, NJ Dupree Pre-School at Princeton Theological Seminary; taught art in Memphis, TN at New Hope Christian Academy, an urban Christian school primarily for low-income families; and for the past 12 years has taught fourth grade at St. George’s Independent School in Germantown, TN. Carrie has faith in Jesus Christ and is active in church at Fellowship Memphis – East Campus.
John Coates is originally from Helena, Ark. He attended Sewanee Military Academy at fourteen and graduated in 1974 from Sewanee Academy. Following this, he played football at Maryville College for one year and then transferred to Memphis State University where he graduated.
John has mentored as a volunteer with Streets Ministries, Advance Memphis. He has also coached high school football at BTW, Kipp and the Memphis Nighthawks.
Along with this, he has served as chairman of Memphis Chrysalis. He has also served Memphis Emmaus and currently the Kairos prison ministry team. Currently, he is employed at Action - Janitorial • Paper • Safety Company.
Lenita Patton (Parent Representative)
Henry Reaves, III
Henry E. Reaves III was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Upon graduating from high school in Ashland, Mississippi, Mr. Reaves enlisted in the United States Air Force. Mr. Reaves trained and specialized in military intelligence serving in the states as well as South Korea and the Middle East. He received the Armed forces Expeditionary Medal, Air Force Achievement medal and was recognized for his contributions to the Kosovo Crisis as well as Operation Enduring Freedom. Mr. Reaves received his Law degree from the Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington. He participated in moot court and received deans honor’s numerous semesters. Mr. Reaves went on to become a valuable member and later coach for the Indiana University School of Law Trial Team as well as the Black Law Student Association Trial Team. After graduating from Law School, Mr. Reaves began working for one of the largest insurance defense firms in the South. Recently, Mr. Reaves walked away from the large insurance companies in order to be the voice for the everyday man and woman. He currently operates and serves at the Reaves & Smith Law Firm. Henry is also volunteer sponsor for the Moot Trial team at Whitehaven High School.
Joey Sulipeck loves Memphis and has lived here almost his entire life. He attended Scenic Hills Elementary in Frayser, and Raleigh Egypt Jr. and Sr. High before attending the University of Memphis where he received a degree in Journalism. He completed his post-graduate weather studies through Mississippi State University and remains certified by the National Weather Association. He has worked in television for over 15 years, and has also worked as the Director of Marketing for the Institutional Investment Advisor and Money Management firm ‘Sector Capital Management’. In the television field, he’s worked for ABC24/30, WREG News Channel 3, and is now the Chief Meteorologist with FOX13 in Memphis. He’s covered American Idol from Los Angeles, and has traveled to the Gulf of Mexico to predict, track and follow hurricanes. Joey’s father played football for the University of Memphis, and he’s a proud Memphis Tiger. He and his family attend Grace Evangelical Church, and they love being immersed in a God-fearing community. Joey and his wife Lisa believe in service and have contributed to the church mission by teaching adult classes, leading children’s classes, and singing in the choir among other fields. They believe there are always opportunities to minister and share the love of Christ. Joey is honored to have won two Emmy Awards for his work in broadcasting, and has been nominated nine times.
Marvin Todd (Board Chair, Grievance Designee)
Marvin was born March 19, 1979 in Memphis. Currently, he works as a Senior Strategic Project Marketing Analyst for FedEx Services. He is a graduate of University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a Bachelors of Science in Communications with a major in Public Relations and eventually received his Master’s in Business Administration from Dowling College. While at UT Knoxville he joined Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and served on their regional board of directors, President, Community Service and Membership Intake Chairman. Marvin also serves as Youth Minister/Leader for Cummings Street Missionary Baptist Church, which includes teaching, mentoring and event planning. He recently graduated from the Leadership Academy and plans to eventually start his own non-profit and restaurant.
Duple Travillion is the Senior State & Local Government Affairs Representative for the FedEx Corporation.
Duple’ assists in shaping FedEx’s external engagement with third party organizations,
policymakers, and influencers in support of the company’s political agenda at the state
and local level in the southern region. Duple plays an instrumental role in developing
FedEx’s Government Affairs long-range planning and response strategies in 9 states.
Before his employment at FedEx, Duple was appointed by the Tennessee Senate Chief
Clerk to serve as staff to the Senate Judiciary Committee and General Welfare, Health
and Human Resources committee. Following his Senate appointment he was employed as
Director of Government and External affairs for the Tennessee Emergency
Duple has been with FedEx Corporation 11 years and has over 16 years of political
advocacy experience. He is currently registered as a lobbyist in North Carolina, South
Carolina, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and the city
of Memphis and Shelby County. Duple is on the Board of the National Black Caucus of
State Legislators, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and
serves on the Government affairs committee of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce.
Duple has a bachelor’s in Political Science from Morehouse College and is currently
pursuing a Master’s in law at Regent University School of Law.
Duple’ is originally from Los Angeles California and currently lives in Collierville TN
with his wife and five children.
Kurt Voldeng (Treasurer)
Kurt Voldeng grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended public schools thru the 8th grade before attending Little Rock Catholic High School and graduating in the top five of his class. He is a double graduate from the University of Memphis earning his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1989 and Masters of Business Administration in 1991. While an undergraduate, Kurt was an active member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and served as the local chapter’s Treasurer and Alumni Liaison. Upon earning his undergraduate degree, Kurt was employed by Union Planters National Bank in the Corporate Finance Division. From 1990 to 2012, he worked for Consulting Services Group, LLC (CSG) as an analyst and eventual Senior Consultant and Director of Alternative Investments. He became a shareholder in the firm in 1999. In 2012, Kurt made the transition to Commerce Asset Management, LLC a CSG subsidiary, which was sold to Commerce Holdings, LLC. Kurt is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Commerce Asset Management, LLC and a shareholder of Commerce Holdings, LLC. Kurt remains an avid University of Memphis Tiger fan and continues to serve on the Memphis Sigma Chi Housing Group Board of Directors.
- Tom Benton