Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

January 27, 2014

Andrews, van der Valk to speak in Pleasant Hill Feb. 1

By Jean Clark
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — The Shalom Center for Continuing Education is sponsoring Adrienne van der Valk, associate editor of Tolerance Magazine from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Pleasant Hill on Jan 31 and Feb 1. Following the 5:30 p.m. potluck on Friday, Jan. 31, she will address hate crimes and issues from a national and Tennessee perspective. Saturday morning, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m., she will discuss the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program and how it has evolved to date.

The second half of Saturday morning’s program will feature the Director of Cumberland County Schools, Donald Andrews, discussing the “Community of Character” program and the schools’ methods of preventing bullying. Both programs will be in Adshead Hall of Fletcher House off of Church St. across from the Pleasant Hill Post Office on Main St. Bring your own table service and a dish to share on Friday evening. 

Adrienne is a writer with an extensive background in social work, social science research and journalism. She earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Grinnell College and holds master degrees in both journalism and political science from the University of Oregon. Prior to working at Teaching Tolerance, she was a lead researcher at the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC), where she specialized in interventions for student populations traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education. She currently writes and presents on reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equity in schools. You can see some of her articles at and learn more about SPLC at 

The director of Cumberland County Schools, Donald Andrews, is the former superintendent of the Randolph County Schools in Asheboro, NC, with 18 years experience as a superintendent. He has been the recipient of many prestigious awards during his career including Superintendent of the Year in 2005 and 2012 in Asheboro. He received bachelor’s degrees in social studies and physical education from the University of North Carolina and master’s and specialist degrees in educational leadership from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.

Although new to the Cumberland County School system, Andrews has hit the ground running, becoming well versed in school programs.Visit for more information.   

The Shalom Center for Continuing Education, based in Pleasant Hill, is a non-profit educational center whose purpose is to provide opportunities for holistic education in areas of social, economic, cultural, ecological, ethical and theological importance on behalf of shalom (wholeness, health, and peace). Visit for more information. Some of their recent programs have covered the areas of media law, ethics and politics; folk theologian and story teller Ed Kilbourne; faithfully facing dying with end-of-life options, creating sustainable communities; songwriter and folk singer Tom Neilson; immigration reform advocacy; drone warfare; sculptor and theologian Charles McCollough; and civil rights activist and author Maria Gitin.

Through conferences, workshops, forums, retreats, institutes and courses, the Shalom Center seeks to engage those in Pleasant Hill and beyond in a learning process that is lifelong, inclusive, imaginative and celebrative, recognizing the integrity of creation and the unity of its inhabitants. The center is supported from private donations and funds generated through the Kroger Gift Card receipts, which enables them to offer their programs at no cost to the participant.

This week in Pleasant Hill:

Jan 31 at 3 p.m. — Remembrance Hour in Adshead Hall of Fletcher House. A time to celebrate the lives of three persons who have passed on.

Feb 2 from 3 to 4 p.m. — Earth Heart Center will host an open house and reception. Pastor Nayiri will offer a house blessing, art work by Pleasant Hill resident Tom Eckert and refreshments. The center is at 44 East Main St. in Pleasant Hill. Call 287-2826 or 248-3165 for more information.