Academics

Distinguished Faculty Chairs

Faculty Chairs and Programs

Since the early 2000’s, alumni and supporters of Montgomery Bell Academy have established a comprehensive set of faculty chairs and programs. Some chairs support subject-specific teaching and leadership, such as the Jackson Family Chair or Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. Chair that further instruction in fine arts and science, respectively. Other chairs encourage cross-disciplinary leadership on campus, such as the Ralph Ellison Chair of Diversity and Inclusion or the Ben and Katie Gambill Fund for Faculty Interns. Each of these chairs and funds seeks to recognize individual excellence, honor pedagogical service, and inspire ongoing engagement with the school and its community. To learn more about each program, its namesake, and its current recipient(s), please explore the page below.

List of 12 frequently asked questions.

  • The Ralph Ellison Chair of Diversity and Inclusion

    Montgomery Bell Academy proudly announces the establishment of the Ralph Ellison Chair of Diversity and Inclusion. The Chair will recognize a faculty member whose work in and out of the classroom, as well as his or her influence on the MBA community, signifies the profound and fundamental values that foster a greater sense of diversity and inclusion at MBA. In establishing this teaching chair, we also honor American author Ralph Ellison, whose vision and writings have furthered a greater understanding of the black experience in our country and by extension any individual who feels alone, isolated, or forgotten.

    Ms. Camille Hackney currently holds the Ralph Ellison Chair of Diversity and Inclusion.
  • The Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. Chair of Science

    Established in 2004 in honor of Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. to reward a faculty member whose contributions to the science department and the MBA community distinguish him or her and make a significant difference at MBA. This recognition also honors the significant contributions in science and medicine and humanity Dr. Frist, Sr. has made to the Nashville community.

    Mr. Travis Barclay currently holds the Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. Chair of Science.
  • The Ben and Katie Gambill Fund for Faculty Interns

    Established in 2008 this Fund recognizes the significant influence recent university graduates can have on the community of Montgomery Bell Academy. The Fund provides the financial support for a recent college graduate to teach, to coach, and to serve as an advisor in the MBA community. This program allows young men and women the opportunity to explore teaching and to make a significant impact on the students and faculty at MBA.

    Mr. Will Eskew, Mr. Hayden Smith, and Mr. Ethan Young are current recipients of The Ben and Katie Gambill Fund.
  • The Cecil Fain Hackney, Jr. Chair for Distinguished Teaching and Service in the MBA Junior School

    Established in 2004 by Morris Hackney (MBA CLass of 1949) in honor of his brother, Cecil Fain Hackney, Jr who attended MBA in the 8th and 9th grades and would have graduated in 1948. His life was cut short in an airplane crash while he was in the military. He was born on December 9, 1930 and died on June 9, 1954 as a Navy pilot flying out of Iwakuni, Japan. This Chair honors a distinguished teacher in MBA’s Junior School whose influence and contributions to the MBA community make a significant difference at MBA.

    Ms. Sarah Ellery currently holds the Cecil Fain Hackney, Jr. Chair for Distinguished Teaching and Service in the MBA Junior School.
  • The MBA Headmaster’s Chair

    Established in 2018 by Maria Triep-Pfeffer and John Pfeffer (MBA Class of 1986) this Chair is donated in honor of Bradford Gioia for his exemplary leadership of Montgomery Bell Academy and provides professional development funds for the Headmaster and support to enhance the arts, service, technology, and innovation at MBA.

    Mr. Bradford Gioia currently holds the MBA Headmaster’s Chair.
  • The Jackson Family Chair of Fine Arts

    Established in 2008 by Clay (’72), Cathy, and Clay (’00) Jackson, this Chair honors the strength and character of the Fine Arts Department at MBA. Because the Fine Arts provide an integral understanding, appreciation, and perspective for the MBA education, the Jackson family proudly recognizes a teacher for his or her influence in this essential field of study.

    Ms. Catharine Hollifield currently holds the Jackson Family Chair of Fine Arts.
  • The Frank Novak Chair for Humanities

    Established in 2008 by John R. Ingram (’79) in honor of Mr. Frank Novak, his seventh-grade science teacher. Mr. Novak’s significant interest in young men and contributions to teaching in the MBA community made a difference for a generation of young men at MBA. This Chair honors a faculty member whose work in and outside of the classroom distinguishes him or her and significantly affects the MBA community in better and greater ways.

    Mr. Josh Clark currently holds the Frank Novak Chair for Humanities.
  • The Mary Hellen Lowry Chair of English

    Established in 2008 this Chair honors fifty years of dedicated and amazing teaching by Mrs. Mary Helen Lowry. Her leadership in the MBA English Department influenced generations of young men. Both college English departments and many alumni have attested to the strength of MBA’s English curriculum because of the single-minded excellence and preparation delivered by Mrs. Mary Helen Lowry. This Chair honors an English teacher whose influence provides the same strength and vision of teaching and academic preparation.

    Dr. Sean Kinch currently holds the Mary Hellen Lowry Chair of English
  • The Tommy Owen Chair

    Established in 2009 this Chair recognizes a faculty member for his leadership at MBA. The Chair was given by a number of former players and friends of Coach Tommy Owen, who served MBA as a distinguished football coach and teacher for more than thirty years. Tommy Owen instilled discipline, character, and champion values in generations of young men on the MBA campus. This Chair recognizes an individual who has the same influence on the young men at MBA.

    Mr. James Tillman currently holds the Tommy Owen Chair.
  • The Eugene Shanks Mathematics Fund

    Established in 2007 this Fund recognizes an outstanding math teacher and provides an annual stipend for him or her to pursue an area of mathematical study each summer. This Fund also recognizes the profound influence of Gene Shanks’s mother and father in the fields of mathematics at both Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities.

    Dr. Dustin Hedmark is the current recipient of the Eugene Shanks Mathematics Fund.
  • The H. Laird Smith, Jr. Family Chair of Humanities

    Established in 2016 this Chair recognizes a faculty member for excellence in teaching of the humanities. Study of the humanities through subjects such as history, philosophy, literature, grammar, and writing encourages students to explore the virtues of truth, beauty and goodness. We also hope this Chair of Humanities inspires strong character and integrity in our students.

    Mr. Dick Klausner currently holds the H. Laird Smith, Jr. Family Chair of Humanities.
  • The Ridley Wills Chair

    Established in 2009 this Chair honors a distinguished faculty member who teaches history. The Chair also recognizes the devotion and scholarship that Ridley Wills, himself, has undertaken as a writer and historian. Mr. Wills served MBA as a Board Chair from 1988-1997. His influence on the school and interested in great teaching is also recognized through this honor.

    Mr. Roddy Story currently holds the Ridley Wills Chair.

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