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.