First Tee seeks new leader

Sandra ClarkUncategorized

After 12 years, Diondre Jackson is stepping down as executive director of The First Tee of Greater Knoxville to launch an independent nonprofit organization. First Tee’s founding board member Archie Ellis will serve as interim executive director.

The First Tee program impacts the lives of young people under the age of 18 by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

Expanding on this mission, Jackson is forming a new nonprofit organization called Penultimate Development, which includes a 10-month leadership and career development Penult Leadership Program designed to transform at-risk youth by nurturing their spiritual, personal and professional development. The organization will complement The First Tee, providing young adults ages 18-24 with the tools and skills for success.

“I was a high jumper at the University of Tennessee, and all students of the high jump understand that the second-to-last step – the penultimate – is the most important before takeoff,” Jackson said.

“For the penultimate step, the jumpers lower their center of gravity, converting horizontal momentum into vertical force and launching into the air. In the Penult Leadership Program, participants focus on the personal, spiritual and professional skills they need to exalt themselves to new heights.

“It’s the last step from high school to adulthood and will help shape how far they can soar. The primary goal of the program is to create leaders within our inner-city communities to achieve lasting change.”

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