Friday, September 2, 2011

Staley Cates, Joyce Avery Are Named to Norris-Todd Advisory Commission

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Cates (left); Avery
  • Cates (left); Avery

The number of Norris-Todd Planning Commission members rose to 12 Friday with the appointments of Memphis entrepreneur Staley Cates by Governor Bill Haslam and former Shelby County Commissioner Joyce Avery by state House Speaker Beth Harwell.

Remaining appointments to the 21-member advisory body on school merger will be made by the Shelby County Schools Board (5) and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey (1). The Memphis City Schools Board and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell have already made 5 appointments each.

Luttrell, SCS Board president David Pickler, and MCS Board president Martavius Jones will be ex-officio non-voting members of the Commission.

Following is the Haslam press release of Cates' appoinment:

Haslam Announces Memphis Schools Planning Commission Appointment

Memphis native is President and CIO of Southeastern Asset Management in the Bluff City

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Memphis native Staley Cates will serve on the Memphis schools planning commission, which will oversee the consolidation of the county and city public school systems.

“I appreciate Staley’s willingness to serve in this important role,” Haslam said. “He is an active Memphian through youth-related and other community-focused efforts and will be a productive member of this group. The planning commission has a lot of work to do for the future of Memphis students, but it also must focus on the students in school today. I look forward to the commission beginning its work.”

Cates, 46, co-founded the New Hope Christian Academy of which he is the chairman. He also chairs the Urban Youth Initiative and Memphis Athletic Ministries. He is board president of the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation.

He serves on the boards of the Soulsville Foundation and the Poplar Foundation. The Poplar Foundation has been involved in various private and charter school efforts in Memphis and supported Memphis placement regions of Teach for America and New Leaders for New Schools.

“I’m honored to serve the governor and people of Memphis in this capacity, and I look forward to working with the rest of the commission on this critical step for Memphis and Shelby County,” Cates said. “Nothing is more important than working to make the state’s largest school system a resounding success for the community’s children.”

Born and raised in Memphis, Cates has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children.

And following is the announcement of Avery's appointment by house Speaker Harwell:

Joyce Avery appointed to Memphis schools planning commission


September 2, 2011, NASHVILLE) – Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today announced the appointment of Joyce Avery to the newly created Memphis schools planning commission, which will oversee the consolidation of the county and city public school systems.

“Joyce is highly dedicated to ensuring that the merger of Memphis and Shelby County schools is a smooth transition for the students and the teachers,” said Speaker Harwell. “The first priority of this commission is to protect the students so they can receive a first-class education. I know that Joyce is dedicated to that goal.”

Elected to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in September 2002 to District 4 Position 1, Avery served on the commission for eight years. During her tenure, she served as Chairman of the Hospitals and Health Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Community Services Committee, and was a member of the Budget and Finance, Land Use, Public Service and Tourism, Conservation, and Delinquent Tax Parcel committees.

Avery attended the University of Arkansas and worked at the University of Tennessee Dental School. Long involved in the community, she has dedicated her time to various civic organizations, including, but not limited to, the Memphis Chapter of the American Liver Foundation and the National Association of Remodeling Industry.

“I’m honored to serve the people of Memphis and Shelby County in this role, and I look forward to working with the members of the commission to make this a smooth and beneficial transition for the state’s largest school system,” said Avery.

City Candidates and Their Backers Go Public in Endorsement Ceremonies

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 12:54 AM

The endorsement game is on, and candidates in the October 6th City of Memphis election as well as their backers are hastening to make their choices known. Two ceremonies on the eve of Labor Day illustrated the phenomenon.

Occasion Number One was for the benefit of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s reelection, and it was held on Wednesday in the mayor’s Union Avenue campaign headquarters. A sizeable group of public officials who are on the line for Wharton grouped around him, and, upon being prodded by the media (specifically by Les Smith of Fox13), a few of them came forward to attest to their devotion to the mayor’s cause and the reasons for it.

Several of the statements were eloquent, perhaps the most compelling being that of state Rep. Larry Miller, who pointed out that the state legislature, never exactly a fertile field for the hopes of Memphians, had undergone a sea change in recent years — due to budget cutting, Republican domination, and a shift in political control to parts east, among other factors. Consequently, said Miller, someone with the connections, working relationships, and pronounced diplomatic skills of A C Wharton was indispensable.

The most quoted remark, though, was that of another legislator, state Rep. Johnnie Turner, who said candidly that she was for A C because “I want to be on the winning side.” A jest, of course, but one with a point.

The incumbent mayor, running for his first full term after succeeding the retired Willie Herenton in 2009, is considered to be well ahead of a small crowd of rivals, including former City Councilman Edmund Ford Sr. (running now as Ed Ford Sr., in a tandem including his son, District 6 Councilman Ed Ford Jr.) and Shelby County Commissioner James Harvey.

Certainly Wharton’s financial asssets¸reportedly well north of $250,000, far exceed anybody else’s, as do his various published lists of endorsements.

Oddly enough, though, one list on the mayor’s campaign website included the name of Councilman Ed Ford Jr. — manifestly in error and a strange oversight, given that campaign chairman Deidre Malone has already sent out an email to the media explaining that the name of Justin Ford (nephew to Ed Ford Sr. and cousin to Ed Ford Jr.) had been included on a previous list by error.

The aforesaid Ed Ford Sr. would have an endorsement moment of his own on Thursday, when he and 10 other candidates in the city election, including the aforesaid Ed Ford Jr., were formally endorsed by the AFL-CIO Council of Memphis and Shelby County.

Present at that ceremony, held at the local Beale St. headquarters of AFSCME (American Federation of State, Council, and Municipal Employees), were, besides the two Fords, Super District 8 Council members Joe Brown, Janis Fullilove, and Myron Lowery; Super District 9 candidate Paul Shaffer; Council members Harold Collins (District 3), Wanda Halbert (District 4), and Jim Strickland (District 5); Council candidate Kendrick Sneed (District 1); and City Court Clerk Thomas Long.

That group had its remarks to make, too, and here and there was some passionate oratory about the perceived injustices in city government — notably 4.6 percent paycuts and reduced benefits for city employees in the most recent city budget and the looming threat of privatization of city services, especially in the Sanitation Department.

Councilman Ford Jr. said that he and Collins were about to introduce a plan that would redeem at least some of the lost pay and benefits, and Councilman Brown hurled a defy on the score of privatizing Sanitation. Interestingly, given that all the endorsements were said to be unanimous, AFL-CIO Council president Irvin Calliste made a point of rebutting one of the Council’s endorsees on a vital point.

That was Strickland, who had to leave early and was quoted in absentia by Calliste as having advised Sanitation workers to be “open-minded” about privatization. “Never!” vowed Calliste on their behalf. (Apprised of Calliste's statement, Strickland said he had never given Sanitation workers any such advice, though he acknowledged having suggested they keep an open mind about another mode of organizing Sanitation operations called "managed competition.")

Mayor Wharton with some of the officials endorsing him. Note the interloper whose head appears between Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy (red tie) and state Rep. Johnnie Turner (red dress). Hint: his name begins wih 'O.'
  • JB
  • Mayor Wharton with some of the officials endorsing him. Note the interloper whose head appears between Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy (red tie) and state Rep. Johnnie Turner (red dress}. Hint: his name begins wih 'O.'

Candidates endorsed by AFL-CIO Council: (from left) Long, Shaffer, Sneed, Brown, Ford Sr., Collins, Lowery, Ford Jr, Fullilove, Halbert.
  • JB
  • Candidates endorsed by AFL-CIO Council: (from left) Long, Shaffer, Sneed, Brown, Ford Sr., Collins, Lowery, Ford Jr, Fullilove, Halbert.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Luttrell Names Appointees to Norris-Todd Planning Commission

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell
  • Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has named his five designees to the Norris-Todd Planning Commission that will serve in an advisory status to the newly constituted all-county school board as the merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools proceeds.

The designees are Christine P. Richards, executive vice president of FedEx; John Smarrelli, president of Christian Brothers University; Barbara Roseborough, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at Southwest Tennessee Community College; Jim Boyd, president of Bridges USA; and Louis Padgett, principal of Northaven Elemengary School.

Luttrell's announcement, in the wake of five members named last week by the Memphis City Schools board, brings the total named so far to 10. David Pickler, president of the Shelby Coungty Schools Board, has received a list of prospective nominees from each of his colleages on the SCS Board, and has said that, in conjunction with the Boad, will name the five appointees allotted to SCS next Thursday at a special Board meeting.

Three additional voting members will be named by Governor Bill Haslam, Senate Speaker and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, and House Speaker Beth Harwell, each of whom will make one appointment each. The full complement of the 21-member Board will be filled out by Luttrell, Pickler, and MCS Board president Martavius Jones, who will be ex-officio, non-voting members.

The Luttrell press release announcing the mayor's appointments is as follows:

Mayor Chooses Members for School Transition Team

Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., has chosen his five representatives to serve on the transition team for the merger of Memphis and Shelby County School Systems.

“These people have unique abilities and share the common commitment to put the interests of school children first. They represent an excellent cross-section of our community,” said Mayor Luttrell.

The transition team members are:

Christine P. Richards-Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
FedEx Corporation-Ms. Richards is responsible for ensuring the corporation’s global activities are in compliance with international, federal, state and local government regulations, and handles international and domestic legal, security and government affairs for all FedEx operating companies and subsidiaries. Born in Amityville, N.Y., Richards earned her Bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and her Juris Doctorate from Duke University.

John Smarrelli, Jr., Ph.D-President, Christian Brothers University-During the past 25 years, Dr. John Smarrelli has also served in senior administrative positions at Loyola University in Chicago, IL and Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. He earned his Doctorate and Masters’ degrees from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and has conducted postdoctoral work in biology at the University of Virginia.

Barbara Roseborough-Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs
Southwest Tennessee Community College-With more than 20 years of educational service at Southwest, she has also served as Associate Professor of English, Department Chair for the Fine Arts, Languages and Literature Department, and Dean of Liberal Studies and Education. Ms. Roseborough holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from LeMoyne-Owen College, a Masters of English from Atlanta University, and a second Masters plus 45 hours of additional studies in Education from the University of Memphis.

Jim Boyd
, President-Bridges USA-Jim Boyd is President/CEO of BRIDGES, USA, an organization dedicated to racial, economic, educational and environmental justice. An ordained Episcopal priest, he served local Episcopal churches by helping to establish the emergency assistance fund at MIFA and SMART (St. Mary’s Manassas Alabama Redevelopment Team) at St. Mary‘s Episcopal Cathedral. He also has served parishes in North Carolina and Oregon. Boyd received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Divinity from Intermet Seminary, in Washington, D.C.

Louis Padgett, III-Principal, Northaven Elementary School-Mr. Padgett is a 24-year employee of the Shelby County School System, and is starting his seventh year as principal of Northaven Elementary School. Padgett received his undergraduate degree in Health and Physical Education from Rust College and earned a Master’s degree in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis.

The transition team candidates will be submitted to the Shelby County Commission for consideration at next week’s meeting.


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