Mid-South Fair Announces Fair Dates, New Attractions Board Members discuss return of staple programs at the157th annual fair

The Mid-South Fair held a press conference Friday, August 16, 2013 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss. Mid-South Fair board president, Michael Doyle announced this year’s fair dates, new attractions and returning attractions including the Miss Mid-South Fair Pageant.

“The Fair has been a tradition in the Mid-South for 157 years. This year it will be bigger and better with the addition of several new activities,” said Doyle. New activities for the 157th Mid-South Fair include basketball and dodge ball tournaments and a Greek step show with trophies and cash prizes for the winners.

In addition to new attractions, Fair board members and staff have planned to reintroduce traditional attractions including rides, games and contests.
Mid-South Fair Executive Director, Jesse Johnson said, “We’ve listened to and incorporated feedback from previous years to create a great experience for fair-goers. A new thing we’re doing this year is having wristband days every day of the fair. We will also bring back some old favorites like the cooking contests and live animals.”
The 2013 Mid-South Fair will be held at the Landers Center (formerly The Desoto Civic Center) in Southaven, Miss. from September 20th through the 29th. For more information about this year’s fair and ticket information, visit the Mid-South Fair website at www.midsouthfair.com

About The Mid-South Fair
The original and still the best, the Mid-South Fair has entertained families since 1856. As a non-profit organization, we exist to create a cultural and entertainment experience that exposes people in our community to items and events they might not otherwise encounter. The Fair is governed by a board of directors, operated by a full-time staff and funded by sponsorships and donations. Since 2001, the Fair has given out $64,000 in educational scholarships for excellence in Youth Talent, Creative Arts, and Agriculture. For more information about the Mid-South Fair visit our website at www.midsouthfair.com

Cato Johnson Elected Chairman of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) unanimously voted to elect Cato Johnson as their new chairman of the commission. Johnson served as vice-chairman last year. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission serves as the public policy coordinating body for the Tennessee public higher education system.
“I want to thank Cato for his work on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “I look forward to working with him as chair, and I appreciate his willingness to serve Tennessee in this new capacity.”

THEC consists of nine universities, thirteen community colleges and twenty seven Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology throughout the state and approximately 252,000 students attend each year. The commission responsibilities include making higher education budget recommendations for over $1.2 billion in state funding as well as a current capital budget of approximately $400 million.
“Tennesseans need and deserve citizens who step up for their best interests, and understand how important education is to the well-being of our state,” Richard Rhoda, THEC Executive Director said. “Cato Johnson provides that understanding and the leadership to do just that. He will be an outstanding chair of the commission.”

“I’m delighted and honored to be named to this role because higher education is such an important issue for our state especially during these challenging times. I look forward to helping the commission reach its goal of increasing the educational attainment beyond high school so that more Tennesseans with college degrees can make positive contributions to our workforce needs,” said Johnson. He has served on THEC for five years.

He is the new chairman of the 15 member board, which includes Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, TN State Secretary David Lillard and Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
Johnson is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and lives in Bartlett, Tennessee.


Students and parents continue to be the focal point as Aspire Public Schools opensits first school outside of California in Memphis on Monday, August 5, 2103. Students will receive the star treatment as they enter Hanley Elementary School on a red carpet flanked with balloon arches as they start the school year.

The official start of school is Monday, however, parents may still register their students for school. All students who register at Hanley will receive a free uniform shirt.
“This is our inaugural school year in Memphis,” said James Willcox, Chief Executive Officer, Aspire Public Schools. “Our team has been planning for this day for over a year and is excited about bringing our educational model to the students here in Memphis.”

Hanley Elementary is the first school assigned to the national charter management organization as a part of the Achievement School District. “What is unique about Aspire is our co-principal structure that allows our teachers to receive more support from the principal,” said Allison Leslie, Executive Director Memphis, Aspire Public Schools. The principals are Nikita Reed from Memphis and Barbara Harris, from Aspire Public Schools in Los Angeles.

Each principal will be responsible for leading their team of kindergarten through 5th grade classes. The students will begin every day with a motivating morning assembly led by the principals.
“Our focus is preparing students for college,” said Harris. “We will determine our students’ greatest needs and tailor the curriculum to ensure they receive a quality education that will result in their success.”

As a native Memphian and former assistant principal at Hanley, Reed is optimistic about the new school year and what opportunities are ahead for the students. “I decided to work for Aspire because it gave me a chance to return to Orange Mound and serve the students and families here,” said Reed. “Being able to return as a principal and enhance the students’ education played a big role in my decision to join Aspire. I anticipate greatness this school year.”

In addition to serving students in grades K-5, the Hanley campus will also house two Pre-K classrooms under the leadership of Porter-Leath.

About Aspire Public Schools
Aspire Public Schools is a national nonprofit organization that currently operates 37 high-performing, public charter schools serving 13,000 students in underserved communities across California and in Tennessee. Aspire is one of the highest-performing public school systems in California, delivering a rigorous ‘College for Certain’ education to students in grades K-12. An unrelenting focus on college preparedness led to 100 percent of graduating Aspire seniors being accepted to four year colleges or universities in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Aspire offers a high-quality education in six cities throughout California: Los Angeles, Oakland, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto and East Palo Alto and one school in Memphis, Tennessee. Visit Aspire Public Schools at www.aspirepublicschools.org.