Sunday, May 20, 2012


If you were anywhere just west of middle Tennessee the past two weeks of May, you may have heard shouts going up!  Scott’s Hill High School in Reagan, Riverside High School in Decarturville and Perry County High School in Linden were the sites of The Ayers Foundation End of Year Celebrations for the Class of 2012.

Graduating seniors and their parents were guests of Jim and Janet Ayers at these annual celebrations hosted by The Ayers Foundation.  When the program first began the celebration was held as a banquet in a central location.  With the growth in the number of schools and scholars and with the emphasis on the students these have become individualized events at the student’s school with their accomplishments being the focal point of the event.  The combined total of attendance was over 800!  Mr. and Mrs. Ayers addressed each group of students in person and surprised the attendees with a personal video message from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

Graduating seniors are offered last dollar scholarships from the Ayers Foundation to pursue post-secondary education in the amount of up to $4,000 per year, up to 4 years.  In addition The Ayers Foundation employs in each of the schools a College Access Counselor who works with the students starting with their freshman year in high school and until they complete their post-secondary education.  With this year’s graduating class, this fall the Ayers’ scholars will total almost 800 students enrolled in some form of post-secondary education.

Scotts Hill High / Ayers Foundation Scholars - Class of 2012

Over 2000 students have been awarded scholarships since the program began in 1999.  The total contribution of the Ayers’ scholarships is over $10 million and outside scholarships totaling over $20 million.  The original goal of the program was for 75% of the graduating seniors to continue their education past high school – now that number is reaching almost 90% of the students attending post-secondary educational institutions.  The Ayers program attributes this great success primarily to the counselors employed by the program and the excellent working relationship with the school system and the community as a whole. 

Riverside High / Ayers Foundation Scholars - Class of 2012

In his address to the students, Jim Ayers challenged the students to realize how the decisions they make at this point in life will have an affect over their lives for the next 60+ years.  Ayers Foundation president, Janet Ayers encouraged the students with Jeremiah 29:11 and a life with hope and a future.  The charge to the students was that it is now their choice of what to do with this great opportunity.  Jim Ayers exclaimed
“while we have given each of you something tonight, we are also taking something from you …the excuse that you could not afford to continue your education”.

Perry County High / Ayers Foundation Scholars - Class of 2012

Governor Haslam’s video message was delivered through a special text code to the students to use on their cell phones.  Haslam congratulated the students on their graduation stating “Today marks the end of one journey, but the beginning of a new adventure – your first one as a full-fledged adult.  Today, I set a challenge for you to be life-long learners!  A student for life”.  Haslam also thanked Jim and Janet Ayers and The Ayers Foundation for their work to make education accessible to young people in Tennessee.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Perry County / Haslam

The Ayers Foundation congratulates all 2012 graduates! 
Special greetings go to the Perry County High School recipients of the Ayers Foundation Scholarships.
Click the link below to hear a special message of encouragement from Governor Bill Haslam to the Class of 2012!

Perry County High School:


Jim and Janet Ayers address to Perry County High School students about inclusion in the Ayers Foundation Scholarship program continues to gain momentum! We've attached a video clip of the announcement if you'd like to view it:

Jim Ayers Announcement (Edited - 5:24)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The Ayers Foundation congratulates all 2012 graduates! 
Special greetings go to the Riverside High School recipients of the Ayers Foundation Scholarships.
Click the link below to hear a special message of encouragement from Governor Bill Haslam to the Class of 2012!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


The Ayers Foundation’s Perry County announcement had a story run in the Jackson Sun. Click the Link below and tab over to page 3:

Ayers Foundation to expand scholarship program in Perry
Nashville banker Jim Ayers will expand The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program to high school graduates in Perry County, providing students with up to $4,000 per year for four years in order to pursue additional education, according to a news release.
Ayers announced the program expansion to students at an assembly at Perry County High School this morning.
“We have had great success with the Ayers Scholars Program in Decatur and Henderson counties,” Ayers said in the release. “More than 90 percent of high school graduates there are going on to pursue some kind of additional education. Part of the reason for that success rate is that we have been able to take the cost of higher educationaway as a barrier for students and their families.”
Since its inception in 1999, The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program has awarded more than 2,000 scholarships to high school graduates at Riverside and Scotts Hill high schools.
In addition to the annual scholarships, the program will contribute funding for the high school guidance counselor, who will assist students and their families in seeking out additional grants and scholarships in order to reduce the financial burden on families.
Janet Ayers, president of The Ayers Foundation, said she expects about $130,000 in Ayers scholarship funds will be combined with nearly $600,000 in other grants and scholarships for Perry County students in the first year of the program. According to school statistics, about 68 percent of Perry County grads now pursue postsecondary education opportunities. Janet Ayers said the goal for the class of 2012 will be to bring that rate up to 88 percent.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Jim Ayers addresses Perry County High audience.

Jim and Janet Ayers of the Ayers Foundation made an exciting announcement today to students and leaders at Perry County High School.  Ayers Foundation Scholarships will be made available beginning with this years graduating class and continue with future classes.  The scholarships are four-year awards that can be used toward tuition at Tennessee Universities or Trade Schools of the student's choice. The announcement was met with a big round of applause!

Jim Ayers is originally from the area, and has a passion to help students from the county in pursuing their education.  The Ayers have a home in the area, and operate a branch of their First Bank in nearby Linden. Ayers never forgets where he comes from and enjoys being able to give back to his communities.

Nashville's WKRN - Channel 2's Chris Bungaard covered the event.  For more on this story, including broadcast video and additional photos, visit the WKRN website:

Janet and Jim Ayers with Perry County High School Seniors.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Tuesday, May 1, Ayers Foundation President - Janet Ayers - was invited to be Keynote Speaker for the first Reagan Giving Circle Scholarship luncheon at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN.  The Circle awarded scholarships to ten young women who are students at APSU.

In her Keynote address, Ayers  spoke about two of her life passions - Giving back, and education. She cited Bible scriptures Luke 12:48 and Jeremiah 29:11, speaking about responsibility and hope.

"Good management is not doing things right, but doing the right thing!" said Ayers. "From a business perspective, it is imperative that community and business are intertwined in order for either to thrive and grow." she continued: "The Reagan Giving Circle embodies the spirit of individual giving, leveraged by the strength of many women focused on a common purpose. THAT is a powerful combination."

The luncheon also honored retired Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Carmen Reagan. Reagan served as an educator for thirty years, and was the first female Dean of Austin Peay's College of Business.

Dr. Reagan began her teaching career in Mississippi in the late 1960's and joined the teaching staff of Austin Peay in 1988.  She quickly became known for her wisdom, intellect and warmth. Dr. Reagan has had significant impact on the Clarksville community through her service on various boards and her philanthropy.

For more information on the luncheon, click the link below:

Monday, May 7, 2012


The Ayers Foundation congratulates all 2012 graduates! 
Special greetings go to the Scotts Hill High School recipients of the Ayers Foundation Scholarships.
Click the link below to hear a special message of encouragement from Governor Bill Haslam to the Class of 2012!

Scotts Hill High School:


Scotts Hill High School in Reagan, Tennessee celebrated an important day in the lives of its 2012 senior class on Tuesday, May 8. Students, their families and school leaders attended the annual End of Year Celebration hosted by The Ayers Foundation.  With an audience of over 300, Dr. Brian Norton congratulated the class on their accomplishments so far and the great opportunities that are available to them.
Through the work of The Ayers Scholars Program, which includes the full time services of a College Access Counselor (Belinda Reed), almost 90% of Scotts Hill seniors plan on pursuing some form of post-secondary education?  The Ayers Scholars Program will be providing $400,000 in scholarships and the counselor has helped the students secure additional scholarships of almost 1.5 million dollars. 
Founder Jim Ayers in his address to the students challenged each of them to realize how the decisions they make at this point in life will have an effect on the quality of their lives over the next 60+ years.  Ayers encouraged the students to take advantage of their Ayers’ scholarships and the excuse of not being able to afford to continue their education had been eliminated.
A surprise for each Ayers Foundation Scholar is a video greeting from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, congratulating the students on their graduation.  “Today marks the end of one journey, but the beginning of a new adventure – your first one as a full- fledged adult” Haslam remarked.  “Today, I set a challenge for you to be a life-long learner! A student for life” the Governor exclaimed. Haslam also thanked Jim and Janet Ayers and The Ayers Foundation for their work since 1999 to make education accessible to young people. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Friday, April 27, The Ayers Foundation held a press conference at Lipscomb University, with University officials announcing a new teacher development program in partnership with The Ayers Foundation.
Through a $1 million gift from James and Janet Ayers to Lipscomb’s College of Education, The Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation will place emphasis on helping educators in rural school systems and troubled schools in Tennessee. Institute programs will begin fall of 2012, according to Lipscomb’s College of Education.
Ayers foundation President, Janet Ayers delivered a keynote address expressing how the new Ayers Institute will focus on improving teacher performance and student outcomes across the state.  Ayers said, “The institute will be a great resource for our schools, particularly those with smaller professional development budgets, and will help develop innovative practices to sustain education reform in our state. There will be particular emphasis on development in turn-around schools, teachers and rural school systems. When everyone is working together, great things can happen.”
Ayers also noted; “We need to cultivate a culture of excellence among our teachers and school leaders, and a deeper appreciation of the value of learning in students and the community at large. We all know there is no competitive advantage to being average!”  Ayers comment drew a standing ovation from the conference attendees.
“We have found through our research and work with local school systems that one of the best ways to improve teaching and learning in the classroom is to provide educators with specific professional development based on their individual needs. When practicing educators are continually supported through tailored enhancement programs and armed with innovative teaching techniques, students have a greater opportunity to be successful,” said Candice McQueen, dean of the College of Education. “We are excited that this new partnership embodied in the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation will allow us to expand those opportunities for teachers and students across the state, especially in areas that need it the most.”
For additional information and articles on the press conference and the newly formed Ayers Institute at Lipscomb University, click the following links:

The Tennesean:

The Examiner:
 Nashville Post:

Janet Ayers - President, The Ayers Foundation, addresses the press conference at Lipscomb University April 27, 2012.

James and Janet Ayers of The Ayers Foundation, listen as Lipscomb University announces the new Ayers Institute.

The Ayers Foundation was created in 1999 in Parsons, Tennessee to improve the quality of life in Tennessee with a focus on education, conservation and social welfare.