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VOL. 128 | NO. 205 | Monday, October 21, 2013

Leadership Memphis Boosting School Success

By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

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Dr. Mary C. McDonald

It is often said that good leaders inspire others to have confidence in their leadership. Great leaders inspire others to have confidence in themselves. This is exactly what the great leaders who have been a part of Leadership Memphis for the past thirty-five years have done; encourage the greatness in the emerging leadership in Memphis.

It’s all about leadership. Great cities, just like great institutions and organizations, need great leaders across all sectors of the community who will then in turn empower others to enter into the process of transformation that takes our city from good to great, and from great to being the standard for excellence. Leadership Memphis knows that there is no finish line in the race to excellence. It is a process of continuous improvement.

Since 1979 when that founding class went forth from their year-long program of learning about the needs of Memphis, and created innovative and collaborative ways to address those needs, Leadership Memphis has sent, over the years, hundreds of graduates who engage in, and promote, civic leadership that makes a difference.

Thirty five years ago, the founders, including Fred Smith, D’Army Bailey, Jack Belz, Pitt Hyde, Sonia Walker and Lewis Donelson, among others, were addressing the challenges of Memphis that focused on forging relationships that would bridge the racial divide, and promote inclusivity. Today, Leadership Memphis, through their programs and initiatives, continues to serve as a tool for forging new and meaningful relationships that have a positive impact on the quality of life for all of our citizens, and for our city. Of particular note is one of their new initiatives, The Success Schools Model.

Leadership Memphis and its executive director, Davis Williams, have taken to heart the words of Bill Gates when he said, “Until we’re educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.” Launched by the Leadership Memphis class of 2013, Success High Schools is one of those “things to do,” which is making a positive difference.

Success High Schools is an initiative that infuses 400 executives over the next five years into eight high schools with the goal of increasing graduation and post-secondary continuation rates. The program helps students who may not have the access or information to get to that next step in their education to create a plan for their future through the Graduation Advisory Program. This is accomplished through the commitment of established leaders who reach out to these students and give them a helping hand in achieving their goals and dreams.

This year, the Leadership Memphis class of 2014 will introduce The Success Schools Model of Leadership Clubs by forming a Leadership Club in each of the eight schools selected: Hamilton, East, Fairley, Power Center Academy, Soulsville, Kingsberry, Melrose and Trezevant. The Leadership Clubs will focus on career awareness, money management and business etiquette. Leadership Memphis continues to be a story of great leaders, empowering others to be great.

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a National Education Consultant, at 574-2956 or visit mcd-partners.com.

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