Meet the Doctors & Staff

Doctors & Staff

Meet the experienced and friendly doctors and staff who make Tullahoma Vision Associates the leading provider of eye and vision care services in Tullahoma.

J. Shawn McBride, O.D.

J. SHAWN MCBRIDE, O.D.

Dr. Shawn McBride is the owner of Tullahoma Vision Associates. He joined the practice after graduating summa cum laude from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, where he was salutatorian of the Class of 1992. He became the owner of the practice in 1996. Dr. McBride is therapeutically certified in the treatment and management of ocular disease and is a member of the American Optometric Association (Contact Lens and Cornea Section member), Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, American Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control, Scleral Lens Education Society, and Ocular Surface Society of Optometry. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Tennessee Optometric Physicians and a Past-President of the South Central Tennessee Optometric Society. Dr. McBride particularly enjoys working in several specialty areas, including dry eye treatment, bifocal and other special-design contact lenses, orthokeratology/Corneal Refractive Therapy, and laser vision correction pre- and post-operative care. He has also been a clinical investigator for Bausch & Lomb and Menicon contact lens products.

A native of Tullahoma and 1983 graduate of Tullahoma High School, Dr. McBride received his Associate of Science degree from Motlow State Community College in 1986. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he majored in biology. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988 after compiling a perfect 4.0 grade-point average at UT. While in optometry school, Dr. McBride was a teaching assistant in the anatomy and histology labs and a member of Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric honor fraternity. Among his accomplishments during his training was earning the highest score in the nation on the National Board exam.
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Dr. McBride is an active member and Past-President of the Tullahoma Sunrise Rotary Club. A percussionist since sixth grade, Dr. McBride was a member of the World Champion Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps of Rockford, Illinois in 1984 and 1986, and he was an instructor for the corps in 1987. He very much remains a drum corps enthusiast and regularly attends competitions in the summertime. Also known as the “Drum Doctor” in marching percussion circles, he has enjoyed working with several high school band programs over the years.

Beyond his varied music interests, Dr. McBride’s hobbies include audio recording, video production, and home theater. He is also an avid sports fan and closely follows the University of Tennessee athletics. Dr. McBride is a member of First United Methodist Church in Tullahoma where he plays percussion in the instrumental ensemble and is in charge of sound for the 11:00 am worship service.

James H. Blanks, O.D.

JAMES H. BLANKS, O.D.

Dr. James H. “Jimmy” Blanks joined Tullahoma Vision Associates in June 2017. Dr. Blanks is a native of Tullahoma and the son of Jim Blanks and the late Janice Blanks. He graduated from Tullahoma High School in 1981 and continued his education at David Lipscomb University in Nashville. Dr. Blanks received his Doctor of Optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis in 1987. While at Southern College of Optometry, he was elected vice-president of his senior class and was a member of Beta Sigma Kappa honor fraternity.


Dr. Blanks began his practice of optometry in McMinnville in 1987. He relocated back home to Tullahoma in 1991, practicing at the Eye Care Center for 26 years until joining Tullahoma Vision Associates. He is a member of the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians and a Past-President of the South Central Tennessee Optometric Society.


Dr. Blanks is married to June-Ellen, a native of McMinnville. They have one son, Dean, who is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of Tennessee. He has been heavily involved with competitive swimming for many years and is a Past-President of the Tullahoma Swim Club. Since 2009 Dr. Blanks has served as an alderman for the City of Tullahoma. In this role, he is the liaison for the city for the Tullahoma Housing Authority and chairs the Policy Committee. In addition, he is a board member of the Duck River Utility Commission, the Tullahoma Arts Council and the Tullahoma Industrial Board. Dr. Blanks is also an active member of the Church of Christ at Cedar Lane.


While not performing civic commitments, Dr. Blanks enjoys gardening, hunting and fishing, and travel with his family.

Penny Owens

PENNY OWENS

Penny Owens has been with Tullahoma Vision Associates since 1991. Penny is the office manager and insurance coordinator. She also helps with patient check-in and check-out as well as assists the doctors in performing specialized tests.

Penny lives in Moore County with her husband, Joe. She enjoys motorcycling with her husband and spending time with her family.

Allison Arnold

ALLISON ARNOLD

Allison Arnold re-joined our staff in December 2002 as an optician. However, she worked in the practice in the early ’80s before leaving to raise her children. In addition to operating our lens finishing lab, her duties include frame styling and helping patients with various lens options, repairs, and adjustments. She also assists with contact lens fittings and instructs patients on insertion, removal, and care of lenses.


Allison resides in Estill Springs. In her time away from the office she enjoys traveling, reading, arts and crafts, and spending time with her sons Derek and Matthew.

Tia Francfort

TIA FRANCFORT

Tia has been with Tullahoma Vision Associates since February 2011. Tia is an apprentice optician where she helps patients with frame styling and lens selection. She also helps coordinate eyewear orders as well as dispensing, adjustment and repair of eyewear. Her previous position was patient check-out, which gives Tia a thorough knowledge of insurance and vision plan benefits. She also coordinates our contact lens department and assists patients with insertion, removal and care training.
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Tia married her long-time boyfriend Garrett Francfort on June 30, 2018. They have one child (Rhett) and a pet Boston Terrier (Bam).

Joseph Niblett

JOSEPH NIBLETT

Joe joined our staff in February 2017 and serves as the director of patient experience. He helps patients with the check-in process and makes them feel right at home in our patient lounge. He also assists patients on the phone and coordinates appointments.

Joe is originally from southern California and moved to Tennessee in 2016 to be closer to his fiancé’s family. He graduated from Cal State Northridge in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in art. He has spent many years as a high school librarian and teacher’s aide.

Being part Hawaiian, family is important to Joe. He and his wife Eileen were married in August 2017 and enjoy living in middle Tennessee. He also enjoys movies, television, art, and music, and is a long-time Batman aficionado. Joe closely follows the USC Trojans, the Oakland Raiders, and the Los Angeles Clippers.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.”

Amber Thomas, CPO

AMBER THOMAS, CPOA

Amber is our lead optometric technician and coordinator of patient flow in the clinic. She also oversees and trains the other technicians in the office. She received the Certified Paraoptometric Assistant designation in 2019 and is preparing for the Certified Paraoptometric Technician examination. Her patient care duties include patient work-ups and preliminary diagnostic testing as a well as assisting the doctors with other specialized testing and procedures such as LipiFlow treatment.

Amber was born and raised in Lynchburg. She and her husband Jake have two daughters, Kennedy and Payton. She enjoys spending her time away from the office with family and friends enjoying life to the fullest.

Christina Wilhoite, CMA

CHRISTINA GATTIS, CMA

Christina joined our staff In June 2018. She assists patients with the check-out process and helps coordinate their future care. Christina has a medical background, having studied at the Medical Response Institute and is a Certified Medical Assistant. Prior to joining our team, she worked with Dr. Marcus Lee at Universal Family Care.
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Christina was born and raised in Franklin County. She enjoys music, art, and spending time outdoors - especially with her husband Curtis and two children.

Ashley Sanders

ASHLEY SANDERS

Ashley joined our team in January 2019. A certified billing and coding specialist, she helps manage insurance claims and accounts receivable in our billing department. In addition, Ashley often helps patients with the check-out process and appointment scheduling.
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A native of Tullahoma, Ashley, and her family moved back to Tennessee in 2018 following her husband’s nine years of service in the U.S. Navy. She worked as a certified pharmacy technician for seven years before taking a break to raise her daughter Sophie. Ashley is also the daughter of Ann Whittington, who was an optometric technician in our practice for nineteen years. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with family.

Dionne Simmons

DIONNE SIMMONS

Dionne joined our team in April 2019 as an optometric technician. She begins the exam process with our patients and performs special testing that gives the doctors important information about their eyes and overall health. One aspect of her role that she especially enjoys is getting to meet and know many different people.

Dionne has a daughter and loves spending time with her family. She relishes a good Philly cheesesteak and enjoys reading, writing and laughing!

“The only limitations you have are those you impose on yourself.” - Yusef Hakeem

Kimberly Rasmussen

KIMBERLY RASMUSSEN

Kimberly joined our team in March 2020 as an optometric technician. She begins the exam process with our patients by gathering information about their visual needs and medical history. She also performs special diagnostic testing and digital imaging of the eyes. One of the most enjoyable aspects of her role is meeting new people and hearing their stories.

Kimberly and her husband Kyle moved to Tennessee in 2019 to be closer to family. They enjoy the beautiful Tennessee landscapes and love hiking, camping and hunting.

Alena Smith

ALENA SMITH

Alena is an assistant in our optical department, where she helps patients find the perfect frame, manages orders and verifies their accuracy, and keeps our inventory organized. She also is in the training process to become a licensed optician in the future. She has 14 years of experience in the medical field prior to joining our team in 2020, and she enjoys researching, learning, helping and sharing knowledge where she can.

​​​​​​​Alena is originally from Alexandria, Louisiana but considers Tennessee her true home! She loves to swim, fish, hike, shop and spend time with friends and family. She and her long-term boyfriend have plans to marry in the near future, and they love to spoil their Boston terrier like a child. Alena loves to learn new things, try new foods and meet new people!

Rebecca Baxter

REBECCA BAXTER

Rebecca joined our work family in May 2020 as an optical assistant, where she assists patients with frame styling and discusses lens products that best serve visual needs and lifestyle requirements. She was born and raised in Lynchburg and is a 2015 graduate of Moore County High School. In 2019 she received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management and Human Relations from Trevecca Nazarene University.

​​​​​​​Rebecca is engaged to her fiancé Nathan Matlock, and the couple plan to marry in September 2020. Todd, her Basset Hound puppy, keeps her on her toes, and she enjoys being outdoors, travel, cooking, shopping and just being with family and friends.

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