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The Board of Education of Lakeland School System was founded in 2013 and members are elected to four-year terms by the citizens of Lakeland, TN. Board members are charged with overseeing the governance of the school system which includes creating and updating district policies, developing and approving the annual budget for Lakeland School System, setting district goals and priorities, and hiring and evaluating the superintendent. They also serve as advocates for students and for public education in general. 

Laura Harrison


Laura Harrison Headshot

Laura, and her husband Scott, have been married for 16 years. They have 4 children. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Memphis and a Master of Business Administration from Bethel University. For the past 17 years she’s been a Project Engineer and Planning/Analysis Advisor for a Fortune 500 company here where she’s had multiple responsibilities including project initiation, developing project budgets, data analysis and modeling, and postmortem review. She is also a 2 time winner of the FedEx Five Star Award, the company’s highest honor, for her successful project work. She is also heavily involved in the Lakeland community serving or having served on various boards including Lakeland Elementary PTA Board of Managers, Lakeland Prep PTO Board of Managers, and Lakeland Cheer Booster Board of Managers. She is also a PTSA Member at Arlington High School.

Jeremy Burnett


Jeremy Burnett Headshot

Jeremy Burnett has been a resident of Lakeland since early 2012. He currently serves as the dean of faculty support at Southwest Tennessee community college, where he has been a member of the faculty and administration for more than 18 years. He is an active member of Faith Baptist Church where he volunteers in the pre-school ministry and is active in his Sunday school class. Mr. Burnett has been with Southwest Tennessee Community College since 2000 and has served as an Instructor, Assistant Professor, Department Chair and Director in both Distance Education and then Faculty Advising before assuming the role of Dean of Faculty Support in 2017. Mr. Burnett holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration and a Master of Science in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality, both from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has work experience in the hotel and casino business with both the Kemmons Wilson companies – Holiday Inn and the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Mr. Burnett has had the privilege to work with his son, other boys and young men in the Boy Scouts for the past 12 years as a father, cubmaster, merit badge counselor, Eagle Mentor and Troop committee chair. In that work he has helped more than 5 Boy Scouts to earn the rank of Eagle. In his his spare time, he enjoys woodworking and camping with his family.

Keith Acton

Keith Acton Headshot

Keith, and his wife Stephanie, have been married since 1998. They have 4 children, with 2 currently in the Lakeland School System. Keith holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a Master of Science with a concentration in Real Estate Development, both earned at the University of Memphis.

Keith has served in various roles in multifamily property management since 1996. He currently leads a local property management firm overseeing communities throughout the country.

Keith has previously served on the city’s Industrial Development Board (IDB) and Economic Development Commission (EDC). He enjoys coaching his kids’ soccer and basketball teams. Keith also plays in local adult soccer leagues in the area.

Michelle Childs

Michelle Childs Headshot

Michelle earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from The University of Alabama and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of TN. She’s been a resident of Lakeland since 2008 except when her family was on an expat assignment to Poland. 

Michelle is the Executive Director of CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, through Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County. Michelle has worked with students for 20 plus years, including 16 years as a social worker with Youth Villages. She served foster children, including close involvement with their educational needs. She’s also served students in crisis through Crisis Text Line. She continues to serve youth and women’s ministry through her church, Grace Community Church in Cordova. Michelle has two children who have/are attending Lakeland Schools. Michelle and her husband Craig have been married for more than 25 years. 

Deborah Thomas

Deborah Thomas Headshot

Deborah grew up in Knoxville and attended the University of Tennessee, where she double majored in English and Latin and minored in secondary education. She then completed a year-long teaching internship and earned her master’s degree in Educational Curriculum and Instruction. Deborah taught Latin and English for thirteen years and has worked in educational assessment since 2008. She and her husband Chuck made Lakeland their home in 2009, and their son Bryce is a proud Lakeland Lion. As a former teacher, Deborah is always mindful of the importance of students' connections to their teachers and their school. When she is not working, she can often be seen (and heard) at events and performances that feature Lakeland's kids and their incredible directors, coaches, and sponsors.