Charlie Biggs

"Co-Creating Inspiring and Inclusive Futures"

Welcome to my website!

I am an Appreciative Inquiry facilitator and trainer with 30+ years of experience in nonprofit organizations and independent schools and a deep commitment to helping other leaders and organizations succeed.

I can help you and your organization think through the challenges you're facing, facilitate strength-based planning and/or staff development workshops to find or create effective solutions, and develop procedures to monitor your progress and enable you to move forward with confidence.

If you'd like to explore how I could help you and your organization achieve your goals, please contact me at charliebiggs2(at) (address masked to deter spam).

Our first meeting will be free. If I can help, my rates are reasonable and can be tailored to fit your situation.

For an overview of my experience and the services I offer, see below - or view/download a copy of my resume here.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Services Offered

Collaborative, Appreciative Inqauiry-based coaching, consulting, and facilitation services for individuals, organizations, and schools on:

  • Leadership development
  • Staff development
  • Team building
  • Strategic planning
  • And more!

Workshops, Webinars, and Planning Sessions

United WE READ, Kingsport, TN – Facilitated two Strategic Planning sessions for the UWR Leadership Team, Fall 2022.

The Mend House, Knoxville, TN – Facilitated two Strategic Planning sessions for the Mend House Board Planning Committee, Fall 2022.

Tennessee Geographic Alliance, Facilitated a two-day Strategic Planning Retreat for the TGA Board, 2/5-6/22.

"Appreciative Leadership for Montessori School Leaders" - A six-session webinar series sponsored by the International Montessori Council, Cohort 1: August-September 2021; Cohort 2: March-April 2022.

“Hope Is a Practice”: Building Resilience through Appreciative Inquiry” - Montessori Alliance of Tennessee “Caring for Our Community” series, 2/6/21.

“Exploring Montessori: A Child-led, Developmentally Appropriate Approach to Early Childhood Education” (with Rebecca Carpenter) - Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance, Roane State Community College, 5/14/20.

“Public Montessori Roundtable” (organized and facilitated) - Montessori Alliance of Tennessee Annual Conference, 9/28/2019.


"Leading Your School the Montessori Way: Flip Your Organizational Chart." Montessori Leadership, Vol. 24.2 (2022).

“Notes on Financial Stability for Montessori Schools during COVID-19 – or Any Time.” Montessori Leadership, Vol. 22.4 (2020).

“’Follow Your Teachers!’ - Running a Montessori School with an Entrepreneurial Spirit and Non-Profit Values.” Montessori Leadership, Vol. 22.1 (2020).

Community Service

Alliance of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee – Member of the Board of Directors (2019-Present), Board Secretary (2020-21), Vice President (2021-2022), and President (2022-Present).

Mirani Foundation – Member of the Advisory Committee (2022-Present).

Montessori Alliance of Tennessee – Member of the Board of Directors (2017-Present), Chair of the Education Committee (2018-Present), Secretary (2018-2022), and Treasurer (2022-Present).


Charles Biggs & Associates • Knoxville, TN

  • Provide coaching, consulting, and collaborative planning services to nonprofit organizations and independent schools. Clients include the Ijams Nature Preschool, the Norwood Open School, the Tennessee Geographic Alliance, and SHADES of Development.
  • Lead professional development workshops and write and publish articles on organizational leadership, staff development, etc.
  • Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator, Center for Appreciative Inquiry, Las Vegas NV (2021).
  • Member of the Coaching/Consulting team, The Alliance for Better Nonprofits, Knoxville, TN (2018-present).

Director • Knoxville Montessori School • Knoxville, TN

  • Coordinated the work of the Knoxville Montessori School (KMS), a nonprofit private school that provides high-quality Montessori education to children from preschool through 5th grade.
  • Increased KMS’s enrollment by 30% - from 57 students in 2009-2010 to 74 students in 2017-2018.
  • Grew the school’s operating income by 50% - from $436,288 in 2009-2010 to $655,483 in 2017-2018.
  • Established a need-based financial aid program that provided up to 50% of tuition to 20%-25% of our students each year.
  • Coordinated facilities upgrades that included renovating the school’s classrooms and transforming the playground into a more natural play space.
  • Coordinated KMS's accreditation by the International Montessori Council.

Capital Campaign Coordinator • Highlander Research and Education Center • New Market, TN

  • Worked collaboratively as part of the Fundraising and Communications Team, a multi-racial, intergenerational team supporting Highlander’s work for social, economic, and racial justice in Appalachia and the South.
  • Helped raise over $500,00 annually for Highlander’s operating budget and approximately $250,000 for Phase I of Highlander’s 75th Anniversary Capital Campaign.
  • Coordinated upgrades to Highlander’s Workshop Center and residential facilities.

Managing Editor • Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal • University of Tennessee • Knoxville, TN

  • Coordinated editing and production of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, which publishes scholarly articles in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Helped organize conferences and symposia, including a national conference in 1997 on “The Future of the Harlem Renaissance.”

Adjunct Instructor • Department of English, University of Tennessee • Knoxville, TN

  • Designed and taught freshman composition, sophomore literature, and upper-division literature and American Studies courses.
  • Received the John C. Hodges Excellence in Teaching Award from the English Department, 1992.

Adjunct Instructor • Dept. of English, City College of New York • New York, NY

  • Designed and taught basic writing and freshman composition courses, including the first sections of computer-assisted freshman composition offered at CCNY.

Foundation & Nonprofit Consultant • New York, NY

  • Provided program evaluation, docket writing, and other services to the New World Foundation, the J.C. Penney Foundation, Joint Foundation Support, and the Norman Foundation.
  • Provided management and fundraising assistance to local and national nonprofit organizations, including Philanthropy Concerned (a network of individuals in philanthropy concerned about the threat of
  • nuclear war) and Arts Alive! (which helped organize artists and musicians to participate in the June 12, 1982 anti-nuclear rally in New York’s Central Park).

The Youth Project • Washington, DC

  • Eastern Office Field Director (1977-1979) - Directed the Youth Project’s Eastern Office, which provided funding and organizational assistance to grassroots social-justice organizations in the Northeast, Midwest, and Appalachia. Supervised a staff of four in offices in Washington, DC, and Knoxville, TN.
  • Eastern Office Field Representative (1975-1977) - Provided funding and organizational assistance to grassroots social-justice organizations in New England and the Midwest.

Education and Professional Development

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Certification, Center for Appreciative Inquiry, Las Vegas, NV (2021).

The Five Most Important Questions You’ll Ever Ask About Your School: Strategic Planning for Montessori Schools, Maren Schmidt, Kids Talk (2018).

Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness, Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2017).

M.Phil., English, Columbia University, New York, NY (1984).

M.A., English, Columbia University, New York, NY (1982).

B.A., History and American Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ (1974).

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© 2023 Charles Biggs. Updated 3/10/2023.