Jim Dodson was born and raised in South Knoxville as the oldest of three boys to Peggy and Don Dodson. Jim attended Doyle High School where he excelled in art, and was active in school activities (Key Club, Theater) and sports (track, football). He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BFA and a Bachelors in Education while working part-time and participating in fraternity life as a Sigma Nu. In 1982, while working downtown, he met his wife Becky who also worked downtown. After 2 years, they were married while Jim worked to complete a MS in Education and EDS (Specialist in Education). His first job was at Jefferson Junior High School beginning in 1987 and he has enjoyed teaching there for 35 years - now teaching his second generation of students.
In 1991, Becky and Jim had daughter Laura and when she was almost three they relocated from Knoxville to Oak Ridge to raise their young family. In addition to teaching and parenting, Jim has enjoyed several interesting hobbies over the years including playing harmonica in a band. Artistically, Jim was commissioned to do prints for Leadership Knoxville and Holy Ghost Church. His work has appeared in local and state galleries in addition to Walt Disney World.
Jim began to extend himself in his professional role - taking on the job of assistant football coach to the legendary Coach Dan Digregorio, serving on Faculty Council, and helping to establish the OR School Art Teacher group and annual student show called "Through the Vision of Children" as well as entering student art in local and regional shows and even had a student get the cover of a national art education magazine. Jim has presented at several National and state-wide conferences and has been published over 6 times in professional journals. He is a past board member and president of the Tennessee Art Education Association and has served as a Delegate on two occasions at the National Art Education Association Convention. He has been selected on several occasions to serve on the State Arts Curriculum Standards Review Committee. He has served as an Evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been an adjudicator for the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts for over 30 years. In 1999, Jim was selected as Tennessee's Middle School
Art Teacher of the Year and went on to be awarded the National Middle School Art Educator of the Year - the first such nominee from Tennessee to receive this award. He was elected to the position of Oak Ridge Education Association President for several years and also served for three years as ORHS Summer School Principal.
One of the legacies Jim is most proud of (next to his family) is the establishment of state-wide art exhibitions of student artwork in professional art museums. Located in the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Lipscomb University Library Art Gallery and the West Tennessee Regional Art Center, the exhibits showcase middle and high school student artwork and have provided awards to both students and their teachers in addition
to awarding over $10 million dollars in college scholarships over the last 15 years.
With time, Jim began to extend his leadership beyond the classroom and seek out opportunities to serve in community agencies starting with the Oak Ridge Arts Council, eventually serving as President. Jim was selected to be a member of the Leadership Oak Ridge Class of 2009 and from that experience played a critical role in developing the Youth Leadership program. In 2014, Dodson was appointed by Governor Bill
Haslam to serve on Humanities Tennessee. He served as the Visual Art Director of the Tennessee Arts Academy and currently serves on the Tennessee Arts Commission Grant Review Committee. A longtime supporter of the United Way campaign at his school, Jim was asked to serve as co-chair with Gene Patterson of the 2015 annual campaign in Anderson County. Jim has been a member of the Sunset Rotary Club for
over eight years, serving many board positions including President. He currently serves as the President of the ADFAC Board, Museum of Science and Energy Foundation Board Member, the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation Board Member, and Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association Board Member.
Jim decided to expand his service to the civic arena by running for City Council and was elected in 2016 and again in 2020. In 2017, he was appointed to serve as the City Council Representative on the Municipal Planning Commission and continues that role today. In addition to Planning Commission, he also represents Council on the Selection Committee of the Youth Advisory Board. The best highlight to Jim's life occurred on July 30th when his grandson, Brooks was born. Parents Laura and Joe Carpenter are both physical therapists, Laura working in home health and Joe running an outpatient clinic in Oak Ridge. He is proud of both of them and most grateful for the best gift of all - being a Grandfather.
Term Expires: November 2024