Jennifer Nagel and Jules Johnson with Jovan Haye at Cozy Joe’s Cafe July 26

Jovan Haye played for the National Football League for seven years, including three years with the Tampa Buccaneers and two years with the Tennessee Titans. Only 9 in 10,000 high school senior football players ever play for the NFL.


But first, Haye had to overcome his biggest challenge of all – severe dyslexia. He credits two extraordinary high school teachers who helped him “let go of dyslexia and learn other ways to learn.” Haye, who struggled through elementary and middle school, finished High School as a member of the National Honor Society, and graduated from Vanderbilt University.


Haye was in Knoxville this past Saturday for a book signing at Cozy Joe’s Café in Hardin Valley. He shared his story of overcoming dyslexia, and signed copies of his book Bigger Than Me, which he gave to all those in attendance.


Jovan Haye was invited to speak in Knoxville by Jules Johnson of Decoding Dyslexia TN, and Jennifer Nagel, parent advocate and founder of the soon-to-be launched CORE, Center for Representation and Education. The Center will focus on advocacy, tutoring and training in the areas of dyslexia, dyscalculia (learning disabilities in math) and dysgraphia (learning disability in writing).


Both Jules and Jennifer have children with dyslexia, and have struggled to find the resources for their children in Knox County Schools. Tennessee schools do not specifically test for dyslexia, but they will do an evaluation to see if a child qualifies for services. The trouble is many children with dyslexia will not qualify for services or accommodations. The small percentages who do qualify are often not placed in a program that has been researched based specifically for dyslexia.


Look for Jennifer Nagel and Jules Johnson to continue to advocate for these services in Knox County so that Knox County Schools can truly offer Excellence for Every Child, including the 20% who have some form of dyslexia. If you want to get involved, you may contact Jennifer at