Catherine Kelly

Tennessee World Affairs Council – President’s Advisory Board

The TN WAC President’s Advisory Board is organized to bring together a group of distinguished citizens to advocate for and advance the mission and vision of the Council – to improve our community by promotion of study and public education in world affairs and to increase international understanding and relations.  [Advisory Board Guidelines]

Catherine Kelly
Metro Nashville Public Schools Teacher, Retired; Teacher-Coach, Martin Luther King, Jr., Magnet HS Academic WorldQuest Team (TNWAC AWQ 2016 Champions); TNWAC Acting Director of Education Outreach

Catherine Graham Kelly was born in Dallas, Texas (1951), but grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, where her parents served as Southern Baptist missionaries. She attended an Arabic-speaking school through 6th grade and then attended the American Community School in Beirut, graduating in June 1968. She continued her education at Houston Baptist University, graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in History and English; M.A. from the University of Texas, Austin (1975); and 30+ post-graduate hours in education, history, and geography from the University of TN, Knoxville, Middle TN State University, and Vanderbilt University.

Catherine’s teaching experience includes one year at Dulles Jr. High in Houston, TX; part-time (summer school) teaching at Houston Community College and Houston Baptist University; and twenty-nine years in Metro Nashville Public Schools—six years at Joelton Middle, eleven years at McMurray Middle, and twelve years at MLK Academic Magnet. She taught 7th grade Social Studies (World Geography) for most of those years, but her most recent teaching focus at MLK Magnet was AP Human Geography.


AWQ 2016-55

Catherine is especially passionate about geography and feels that it provides a set of skills and content knowledge that are essential to understanding the complexities of our increasingly interdependent global community. The spatial perspective that geography offers is vital in appreciating local, national, and global demographics, culture, politics, industrialization and economic development, rural and urban patterns, and processes of globalization. Geography answers not only “where” questions, but more importantly “why”, “how”, and “why there”.

In addition to the unique perspective that Catherine has due to growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, and her immersion in the Arab culture, her personal and academic background has been further enhanced through overseas travel and teacher exchange opportunities in Russia (1993), the Dominican Republic (1999), and Turkmenistan (2003) and through professional involvement and leadership roles in the TN Geographic Alliance. She is the Coordinator of the TN Geographic Bee, a position she has held since 2004.

The Tennessee World Affairs Council is a nonprofit (501c3), nonpartisan educational charity based in Nashville that works to build understanding of global issues in our communities. Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at:  — Join / Donate / Volunteer

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