Born in Jackson, Raines grew up on a cotton farm near Bells. She received her undergraduate education at UT Martin and worked as a kindergarten teacher for several years. Raines then went on to UT Knoxville, earning her master’s degree in child development and later her doctorate in elementary and early education.
She served on the faculty or in administration at universities in Alabama, Florida, Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
She was president of the Association for Childhood Education International from 1999-2001, serving as a United Nations representative to the civil society organizations. Then, in 2002, Shirley Raines became the first female president of the University of Memphis.
With an innovative spirit, Raines guided the university to become one of the top-20 internships programs in the nation, to boast the largest honors program in the state, and to develop an entrepreneurship program that launched companies started by professors.
She was invited to speak at the White House Conference on University entrepreneurship.
The architecture community recognized Dr. Raines for campus redesign, including the FedEx Institute of Technology, the new student center, and the historic renovation of the Law School on the River. She and her leadership team were acknowledged by city, country and state government for major growth in reputation as a metropolitan research university, increased graduation rates, and superior management.
Other “first woman” honors for Raines included being the first woman chair of Conference-USA and the first woman chair of Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce.
She was recognized for her work by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women and inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013, where she was described as “powerful, personable, and prepared.”
Based on her wealth of experiences,Raines is a consummate energizer of leaders and their teams. For five years, she shared her leadership stories, challenges, and pitfalls at Harvard’s Institute for New Presidents and Chancellors.
Now retired in Oak Ridge, Raines has become a much sought-after motivational speaker, educational consultant, and author. Raines has written 18 books - 15 for teachers, 2 for children, and her latest leadership book, “An Uncommon Journey: Leadership Lessons from a Preschool Teacher Who Became a University President.”
Join us to hear Dr. Shirley Raines share her insights.
Speaking with authority, enthusiasm, and humor, she will address leadership issues in real-world work environments.
Copies of her newest book will be on sale at an autograph party after the event. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Roane State Community College Foundation.