Board of Directors

Vanedda Webb

Vanedda Webb

Board Chair

Joint Executive/Finance Committee

Vanedda Webb has practiced law in Northwest Tennessee for over 25 years. Since 2008, Ms. Webb has been a sole practitioner in downtown Dyersburg, Tennessee. In addition to serving on the Board for WTLS, Ms. Webb also serves as an alderman for the City of Dyersburg. Ms. Webb's husband, Lance, is an Assistant District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District and a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Vanedda and Lance Webb are the parents of three adult sons.

Laura Keeton

Laura A. Keeton


Joint Executive/Finance Committee

Laura Keeton was the Valedictorian of Hollow Rock Bruceton Central High School's class of 1984, and she graduated magna cum laude from Memphis State University in 1998. Ms. Keeton earned her JD from the University of Tennessee in 1991. She is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and has been a Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator, specially trained in domestic violence issues, since 2009.

Ms. Keeton is a member of the American, Tennessee, and Carroll County Bar Associations and of Tennessee Municipal Judges Conference. She has served as Municipal Judge for the Town of Hollow Rock since 1992, Municipal Attorney for the Town of Gleason since 2007, and the Municipal Attorney for the City of McKenzie since 2011.

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Barbara Hudson


Joint Executive/Finance Committee

Barbara Hudson was born and raised in Stanton, Tennessee and is the wife of the late Charles Hudson and mother to Nicholas and Kelly. Ms. Hudson graduated from Haywood High school. She attained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin and a Master’s in Education from what was once known as Memphis State University. Ms. Hudson is a retired educator from Crestview Middle School in Covington, Tennessee of 40 years. She is a member of Mercer Missionary Baptist Church in Brownsville, Tennessee where she holds the office of church corresponding secretary. Ms. Hudson is the current director and owner of the Heavenly Oak Daycare Center in downtown Stanton, Tennessee.


Charles H. Barnett

Charles H. Barnett, III

Charles Barnett is a native of Jackson, Tennessee. He graduated from Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1975, and he has 42 years of civil litigation experience in both state and federal courts. He currently serves as General Counsel to the Health, Education, and Housing Facilities Board of the City of Jackson. 

Mr. Barnett is a member of the Jackson-Madison County, Tennessee, and American Bar Associations. He is a graduate of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and a recipient of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association Pro Bono Award. Mr. Barnett has been designated as a Rule 31 Mediator by the Tennessee Supreme Court and is listed as a mediator by the Federal Court of the Western District of Tennessee. Mr. Barnett has been awarded Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer review rating of AV for approximately thirty years and has been designated for the last ten years as a “Super Lawyer” in the field of litigation.

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Cecil M. Giles, CFSP

Cecil M. Giles is a native of Stanton, Tennessee in Haywood County. He is a 1969 graduate of Haywood High School in Brownsville, Tennessee where he entered in 1965 as part of the first black students to integrate Haywood County schools. After graduation he attended the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Mr. Giles is a certified funeral service practitioner, licensed in the State of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is employed by Rawls Funeral Homes of Brownsville where he has worked for forty-six years, including twenty-seven years at Golden Circle Life Insurance Company of Brownsville where he served as Vice President/Comptroller. He is also a licensed life, health, and property and casualty agent in the State of Tennessee.

Mr. Giles is a member of Fredonia Baptist Church in Stanton where he serves as Chairman of the Board of Deacons.

John Hamilton

John Hamilton

John Hamilton grew up in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee and graduated cum laude from Lambuth College in 1990 with a B.A. in English.

Mr. Hamilton received his Juris Doctorate from Nashville School of Law in 1997. He worked at a number of private law firms throughout his career, including Freemon Law Firm from 1997 to 1999; Keeton, Turner, and Spitzer from 1999 to 2000; Hill Boren Law Firm from 2001 to 2007, and had a solo practice - Law Office of John D. Hamilton - from 2007 to 2017.

Mr. Hamilton has been serving as the Assistant Public Defender for Jackson, Tennessee's 26th Judicial District since 2017.

Mary Jo Middlebrooks

Mary Jo Middlebrooks

Audit Committee

Mary Jo Middlebrooks is certified as a Family Law Specialist and is a Rule 31 Listed Mediator in the field of General Civil/Family Mediation. She graduated from Vanderbilt Law School and was one of the original incorporators of WTLS. 

Ms. Middlebrooks' awards and honors include Pro Bono Awards (Legal Services Corporation and WTLS), Women of Empowerment (Women’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program), Second Century Award (Jackson-Madison County NAACP), Ernie H. Gray Paralegal Utilization Award (Tennessee Paralegal Association West Tennessee Chapter), Sterling Award, and Sue Shelton White Award.  

Ms. Middlebrooks was appointed as a Commissioner to the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, inducted into the Tennessee Bar Foundation Fellows, and is a Master of the Bench of the Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court. 

Kortney D. Simmons

Kortney D. Simmons

Kortney D. Simmons, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from the University of Mississippi School Of Law in 2011, where she earned her J.D. with a Certificate in Criminal Law. Prior to law school, Ms. Simmons received her B.S. in International Relations from Middle Tennessee State University, where she graduated cum laude in 2007. In 2011 Ms. Simmons was admitted to the Tennessee Bar and joined Divorce Incorporated as an Associate Attorney.

In 2015, Ms. Simmons, along with G. Michael Casey and Daniel P. Bryant, formed the law firm of Casey, Simmons and Bryant, PLLC. Ms. Simmons practices in courts across Tennessee, but primarily practices in West Tennessee. Her primary areas of practice are criminal defense, juvenile and family law.

Attorney Simmons is happily married and has two handsome sons named William and Ryan and a playful puppy named José.

Michael Tate

Michael Tate

Joint Executive/Finance Committee

Michael Tate is a lifelong resident of Carroll County and a 1969 graduate of Trezevant High School. He is married to Monica Adams, and they have resided in Huntingdon Tennessee for the past 25 years.

Mr. Tate served in the US military from 1969 to 1972. He retired from DuPont after 42 years, then became an active member of his community through volunteering. Mr. Tate’s experience in corporate America helps guide WTLS into the future as we help underprivileged citizens. 

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Jocelyn Gargus

Jocelyn Gargus has lived in Tennessee for 10 years and graduated from Jackson Central Merry High School in 2023.  Ms. Gargus is now a freshman at Memphis Lambuth University as a pre-nursing major.

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Ben Harmon

Ben Harmon is a lifelong resident of Hardin County and a second-generation attorney. Mr. Harmon graduated from  the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis, and, after passing the bar exam, was sworn in as a practicing member of the Tennessee Bar by his father, the late Chancellor  Ron Harmon. Mr. Harmon owns a firm in Savannah, where he has worked since he graduated from law school. Mr. Harmon joined the WTLS Board in 2023.