Dee Gee (Doris) Lester is the head and founder of the Hellenic Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Tennessee, USA
Several childhood years in France, and subsequent study and travel abroad combined to give DeeGee Lester a unique world perspective. The intellectual appeal and interconnections across a variety of subject areas, and a passion for connecting people with ideas, resources, and opportunities culminated in an exciting 20-year career as Director of Education at the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the years, vision, creativity and self-motivation have led her into leadership and board positions with a variety of organizations. But as educator and cultural advocate, her true passion is evidenced in the mentoring of over 150 interns, and the initiating, organizing and hosting of award-winning programs and workshops. As team member,she collaborated with museum staff to design the educational component for Parthenon exhibitions (including Benaki’s “Romancing the Acropolis”); while outside the museum, she initiated and organized a number of events, for example bringing to Nashville several musicians from the Brussels Philharmonic for 2018 WWI Centennial concerts.
1999, Master of Arts (Public History, Museum Studies). Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.
1992, Bachelor of Science (History). Belmont University, Nashville, TN.
1978, Studied in Ireland, Encounter Ireland Scholarship Program.
Attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. 1977-79 (Journalism Major) and 1968-70 (Theater Major).
RELEVANT EMPLOYMENT HISTORY:
1998-2018, (Retired) Director of Education, The Parthenon (Metro Parks, Nashville, TN).
2012-2018, Monthly Contributor, Nashville Arts Magazine
2014-2018, Monthly Contributor, Validity Magazine (Publication of The Nashville Trace).
1992-2019, Editorial Assistant, Dr. Richard Daft, Vanderbilt Owen School of Management, Nashville, TN. (Assist on periodic new editions of text books).
FREELANCE WRITER, 1984-PRESENT:
Author of 6 books:
Quentin Roosevelt’s White House Gang (Children’s book, 2019, Newman Springs).
Around Gallatin and Sumner County Vol. 1, and Vol. 2, with Kenneth Thomson (1998, Arcadia Publishers).
Roosevelt Research: Collections for the Study of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor (1992, Greenwood Press).
Irish Research Guide (1987, Greenwood Press).
Immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, with Jack Weaver (1986, Greenwood Press).
Contributions to Encyclopedias:
“The Irish in Tennessee,” Encyclopedia of the Irish in America (1998, Notre Dame Press).
8 Articles, Tennessee Encyclopedia (1998, Tennessee Historical Society, Rutledge Hill Press).
“Tennessee’s Bold Fenian Men,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, winter, 1998.
“The Memphis Riots of 1866,” Eire-Ireland, Fall 1995.
“John Mitchel’s Wilderness Years in Tennessee, Eire-Ireland, Summer, 1990.
“Theodore Roosevelt, the Ancient Irish Sagas, and Celtic Studies in America,” Eire-Ireland, Spring, 1989. (Honorable Mention, Four Masters Award).
Book Reviews in Mississippi Historical Quarterly and Tennessee Historical Quarterly.
Editor, Annual Research Reports, American Conference for Irish Studies, 1991-1997
American Conference for Irish Studies (1987-1991)
Belmont University (hosted two Irish Panels) 1993, 1994.
Tennessee Association of Museums, various years.
Metro Schools: Parent University, Various Teacher Workshops and Panels.
2018-Academies of Nashville, Years of Leadership Award 2007-2018.
2016- MNPS, Volunteer for the Year for Public Schools, PENCIL Foundation.
2014- Academies of Nashville Award, Best Partnership (Art, Design, & Communication)
2011- Educator Award, Mayor’s Advisory for People with Disabilities , Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
1990-Honorable Mention, The Four Master’s Award, Eire-Ireland.
1992- History Award , Belmont University.