PEP Foundation Names Steakley as First Executive Director

Putnam County, TENN.- The Putnam Education Partnership (PEP) Foundation board has named Katelyn Steakley as the organization’s first executive director.

The PEP foundation is a nonprofit organization that has served the Putnam County School
System since 2004. The organization’s mission is to remove barriers to achievement for Putnam
County Students. The community most widely recognizes PEP for The Backpack Program,
which provides food for over 600 food insecure students to take home on the weekends.
“I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity to serve and support the families of Putnam County and the Putnam County School System. I have long held the belief that the best way to a
successful future is supporting our next generation,” said Steakley. “I am looking forward to
supporting the existing initiatives of the organization and creating opportunities for new
programs that will help children in our community thrive.”

Over the past few years, the organization pursued meeting additional student needs and the
needs of the Putnam County School System that fell outside the scope of the budget and
federal funding. PEP has seen increased requests and identified needs, which led to the PEP
Foundation board hiring its first executive director.

“We have seen increased needs over the past few years both with students and our schools,”
said Brandon Smith, PEP President. “Bringing Katelyn on board to lead the Foundation is a
great step for PEP, and I can’t imagine anyone being better suited to execute the priorities of the
PEP Foundation. Having her in this role will allow us to be more intentional and elevate our
impact in supporting the needs of Putnam County students, staff and families, and we are
fortunate she is willing to serve in that role.”

Steakley is a local community advocate known for her work with the March 3, 2020 tornado
relief efforts, founder of Cookeville Strong (a Facebook community), and has served and worked
for various local non-profit organizations.


The PEP Foundation is already working and is currently looking for volunteers and groups
willing to collect food for their Food Drive.

“One of the many things I saw during the March 3 tornados was watching our community come
together and volunteer in any capacity they could. We can accomplish great things when more
of us come together. I look forward to working with our community as we make a difference in
the everyday lives of students,” said Steakley.

To learn more about PEP, volunteer, sign-up to help with their food drive, or become a supporter, visit

Keep up with the work PEP is doing to support the Putnam County School System by following
them on social media @pepfound.


Photo: Katelyn Steakley, PEP Executive Director