TEA Legal Services

Being a member means you will never have to pay extra for TEA legal services. You can rest assured that you are covered.


CLICK HERE to access TEA Legal FAQs (you must be logged in with your 10-digit TEA member ID).


We have you covered! 2023-24 TEA Educators Employment Liability Insurance Policy
Lawsuit by a parent COVERED    Unfortunately, parents have sued Tennessee educators this year. When you are a TEA member, you are covered under our policies.      
State Board License under review COVERED TEA attorneys routinely deal with the State Board of Education on licensure issues.
Back pay or incorrect pay COVERED TEA attorneys have recovered thousands of dollars for our members when members have been incorrectly paid.
Unlawful termination COVERED TEA attorneys were responsible for a landmark Tennessee Court of Appeals decision. Thanks to the efforts of TEA, a member was paid $198,000 for being wrongfully terminated.
Employment action against you COVERED TEA attorneys and staff will stand beside you during any adverse employment action. Our goal is to provide you with the best representation possible so that your license and livelihood are protected.
Criminal defense expenses if exonerated COVERED If a member is wrongly accused of a crime and is subsequently exonerated, TEA will cover up to $35,000 of your criminal defense expenses.   
Criminal defense expenses including investigations and hearing under DCS COVERED If a member is being investigated by DCS and obtains a criminal defense attorney for representation for the DCS investigation, TEA will provide up to $5000 for reimbursement if exonerated or the allegations were found to be false. 


Meet Your Attorneys


LaRita Mitchell


Steve McCloud, Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel

Steve is an East Tennessee native. He earned his undergraduate degree from East Tennessee State University and his law degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. After earning his law degree, he began his practice of law in Nashville where he has worked for 30 years, the last 11 of which have been with the Tennessee Education Association. His work with TEA supports Tennessee's teachers, school administrators, education support professionals and students. He is responsible for planning, managing, developing, implementing, and directing the resources of the TEA Legal Services Program and he provides advice and counsel to the TEA Board of Directors and executive Management team at TEA.


Steve is a member of the Tennessee bar and is licensed to practice law in all State and Federal Courts in Tennessee. 



Virginia McCoy

Raised in a family of teachers, Virginia initially intended to follow in her family's footsteps and also become an educator. After receiving her bachelor's degree in business administration, however, she continued her education and attended the University of Tennessee College of Law, graduating in 1985. Virginia joined the TEA Legal Staff in 1989 and has successfully represented Tennessee public school teachers and other school employees for the last 35 years. While the Tennessee Supreme Court does not allow lawyers to specialize in education law, Virginia's professional life's work has centered around securing and protecting due process rights for educators. In addition, Virginia has presented at multiple conferences and workshops on a variety of legal and educational issues over her career, including Educator Legal Rights and Responsibilities, First Amendment and state law protections for education employees, the Tennessee Teacher Code of Ethics, Social Media Concerns, Sexual Harassment, and Legal Issues for New Teachers. 



John Allen

John is originally from Kentucky. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehead State University and his law degree from Ohio Northern University. After graduating from law school, John and his family moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he began practicing law. John has been with TEA since 2013 where he represents public-school employees in a wide range of employment matters and assists TEA’s general counsel in matters that affect public education.


Cynthia Wood

A native Southerner, Cynthia started her career in communications before pivoting to attend law school. Upon receiving an internship at ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Cynthia completed law school in Memphis as a visiting student. Cynthia started her legal career with Waldrop & Hall in Jackson, TN, where she practiced in various litigation and transactional matters, including as defense counsel for several school boards. Eventually, she moved to Nashville and in 2014 joined Tennessee Education Association to help launch TEA’s Advocacy Hotline.  Cynthia is admitted to practice in Tennessee as well as in the Western District of Tennessee and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Mary Campbell

Originally from West Virginia, Mary graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology before moving to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt School of Law. After graduating law school in 1989, Mary served as an assistant district attorney general in Nashville, prosecuting felonies and heading up the office's Domestic Violence Division. Mary also has Tennessee teaching experience, serving as a Criminal Justice Teacher in Williamson County. At TEA,  Mary's primary focus is to assist local associations in negotiating their Memorandums of Understanding with their school boards.  


Tennessee Education Association's legal and lobby teams work every day to improve public education for our students and members. 


TEA's legal benefits allow education professionals to feel secure in the execution of their duties, knowing that TEA legal services will always be standing along side them as they proceed through their career.


  • Legal Services Program for the defense of your employment rights.
  • Attorney Referral Program, that provides you quality legal services for personal matters at reduced rates.
  • Advocacy to protect your professional interests and benefits as an active employee and in retirement.