Laura Vilines

Blowing off a Wednesday night East Nasty run can cause some serious runner’s guilt on it’s own, but imagine the remorse you’d feel if you looked out your window to see 200 East Nasties running by your house without you. This East Nasty can run, but sure can’t hide from our group, because her house is conveniently located on many a Wednesday night routes. If this East Nasty does miss a run, she probably has an official excuse, because she’s the very opposite of too cool for school. Meet Laura Vilines, our newest East Nasty of the Week!

Born and raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Laura had a hardcore love for school from a very early age. Her desire to learn was so intense, that when she fell off the monkey bars and broke her arm on the first day of first grade, Laura refused to go home and miss her first day. Instead, she stayed through the day and rode the bus home in the afternoon! In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, Laura spent a lot of her time studying tap, ballet, jazz and modern dance. As she entered high school, Laura continued to focus on these subjects, taking AP classes and participating in performing arts activities like dance, choir and musical theater. Laura also played tennis and was on the swim team, often bouncing from one activity to another. Laura remembers taking a tap class in her race swimsuit so she could quickly leave for a swim meet. At the end of her high school career, Laura decided she wanted to pursue English and writing in college, despite being advised to pursue a law degree by her favorite English teacher.

After high school, Laura headed to St. Louis to attend college at Washington University, where she graduated with two majors –English Literature and Political Science, and two minors –Modern Dance and Spanish.

Laura joined Teach for America after college, teaching 9th and 10th grade English in St. Louis Public Schools. Laura loved her work, but after three years of working inside an urban school, decided she wanted to impact education from outside the classroom. That’s when she moved to Nashville to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt and study Education Policy.

While at Vanderbilt, Laura heard rumblings of a running group that met on the Eastside. Laura had been running for a few years, and after an invite from classmate and former ENOW Bernadette Doykos, decided to come to a Wednesday night run.

In 2011, Laura ran her first race, five years after she first started running. That year she completed the Country Music Half Marathon, inspired by her sister-in-law, who is a marathoner and triathlete. After the race, the two decided to make the CMM an annual tradition.

Laura V and Sister in Law Pre-Race 2011

Laura V and Sister in Law Pre-Race 2011

LauraV and BD Post-Race 2011

LauraV and BD Post-Race 2011

Laura also accomplished a few other milestones in 2011 – purchasing her home in East Nashville and helping open the STEM charter school.

Today, Laura is the Academic Dean for STEM Preparatory Academy in South Nashville, where she writes curriculum, coaches teachers, plans professional development and helps design the systems and procedures for the school.



She loves East Nasty because it helps her get to know her East Nashville neighbors and meet people outside of her professional field. Laura likes running with the group, and hopes to improve her half marathon time at the 2013 CMM.

On a completely irrelevant tangent, Laura is one of only a few Vilines-es in the country who spells her last name with one “L.” Back in the day, Laura’s great grandmother VILLINES got into a bit of a feud with her family and changed her sons’ last name to VILINES. Now, Laura’s brother is the last male one-L-er out there. Talk about pressure.

And on another note, Laura likes Motown dance parties, which we should totally host at 3 Crow after our run on Wednesday.

Be sure to congratulate Laura on her induction into the East Nasty of the Week (which is pretty much the National Honor Society equivalent of running club honors). ENFL!

- Erin