Team Member

Breanna Sommers, MPP

Message Breanna Sommers, MPP

Breanna Sommers, MPP

Tennessee P-12 Senior Policy Analyst

As the senior P-12 policy analyst for The Education Trust – Tennessee, Breanna leads education data, research, and policy analysis to develop student-centered and equity-driven policy priorities. She has worked on many issues, including Tennessee’s school funding reform and assessment-based student retention. Her research and commentary have been featured at conferences, events, and news media, including CNN, The Washington Post, Chalkbeat, The Hechinger Report, NPR’s WPLN, The Tennessean, The Commercial Appeal, Tennessee Lookout, and Scripps News.

Before joining The Education Trust – Tennessee, Breanna worked with the Tennessee State Board of Education and a research-practice partnership between Vanderbilt University and the North Carolina State Board of Education on policy research. Additionally, she has worked with elected officials and nonprofits on education policy analysis and program evaluation. She began her career as a middle school civics teacher and department chair. 

Breanna earned a Master of Public Policy at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and an undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, studying urban education policy.

Favorite Sports Team
The Memphis Grizzlies because I love a good underdog story, their social media is always on point, and I’m passionate about all things Tennessee. 

Proudest Moment
Graduating from college, my father’s lifelong goal for me. 

What are people most surprised to learn about you?
I live in a 19th-century school building. It adds a new layer of meaning to one of my favorite quotes by Rita Pierson, which says, “I have spent my entire life either at the schoolhouse, on the way to the schoolhouse, or talking about what happens in the schoolhouse.”

What drew you to education?
Like every good story in education, my journey in education policy began with a great teacher. My 11th-grade English teacher assigned Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol, which highlights school funding inequities. As I progressed through high school, I went from wondering how I could make my family proud to grappling with how I could advance educational equity, and I haven’t looked back since. My sixteen-year-old self had no idea that she would have the opportunity to analyze policy, data, and research on school funding in my role at The Education Trust – Tennessee.