Shelby County unified school board appointee Billy Orgel (District 7)

Continuing with looks at the seven appointees for the 23-person unified school board that the Shelby County Commission chose in four-plus hours of debate and voting, we hit a district covering some of the most eastern sections of Memphis. See this link for the compilation of appointee profiles we've created thus far. The map is here of the districts.

District 7: Billy Orgel
President of Tower Ventures
Organizer/Director of First Capital Bank in Germantown

Considered one of Memphis's must successful and civic-minded entrepreneurs, Orgel also served on the Public Building Authority that oversaw the on-time, on-budget construction of FedExForm and was a commissioner on the Memphis Shelby County Metropolitan Charter Commission. Like Kevin Woods of District 5, Orgel lives in outermost East Memphis, very near Germantown and close to Temple Israel, where Orgel has served as president. Orgel currently has one child in a private high school and one in a Memphis City Schools middle school (another is in college); his children also received their elementary education from MCS.

Orgel told the Commissioners that after graduating from the University of Texas (he is an alum of Richland Elementary School in Memphis City Schools and the more exclusive Memphis University School), he did not intend to return to Memphis but did so because help was needed with the family business. And he's never left. Orgel described his company, Tower Ventures, as one of the largest independently operating cell-tower companies in the country, but he also is involved in other ventures, including as organizer and director for First Capital Bank in Germantown.

Though Orgel identifies politically as a Republican, all but one of the commission's Republican members gave their support to Todd Payne, the general manager for Christian radio station 640-AM. Payne emphasized his belief that unincorporated Cordova needed representation. The other finalist receiving support was Rev. Ralph White, who lives in another part of Cordova and was a colleague of Orgel's on the Metro charter commission.

But with Sidney Chism and Walter Bailey both sticking with Orgel, White could not get enough votes.

"I keep my head down and do what I'm supposed to do," Orgel said before the vote.

After the vote, Orgel said: "I look forward to serving all the citizens of Shelby County. Thank you and I will not disappoint you."

His rabbi at Temple Israel, Micah Greenstein, says of Orgel: "Billy embodies the best of Jewish values in that he treats everyone the same and he follows the old rabbinical dictum, 'Say little, do more.'He never seeks attention, but finds ways to make things happen. He's honest and ethical, a family man who's devoted to his community."


I have taught English at Houston HS for 24 years and retired May 25 to become the Tennessee State Director of CEAI-Christian Educators Assoc. International. The morale of teachers across the state has never been lower! Those in Shelby County are in a quandary not knowing what to do. They need encouragement and support. That is my mission. CEAI has a very large membership in Shelby County and Memphis schools. We would like to know if you will stand up for us, if you are elected, and our right to belong to CEAI without harassment from the unions (SCEA and MEA,which will not exist, I presume) and from administrators. Since Tennessee is a “right to work” state, teachers have the privilege of belonging to whatever organizations they choose. We offer superb liability insurance and legal assistance from the best Christian lawyers in the nation. We are in every state and began in 1953. Please check out our website for complete information. I have been a member for about 20 years. Our dues are $139 a year compared to the local unions from $500 to $1000. Christians who do not want their money to go to the liberal agenda of the NEA are forced and coerced to join. In many schools we do not even have the right to tell the teachers about CEAI.
I am a native Memphian. I went to Snowden, Central, and graduated from Vanderbilt University. I would like very much to hear from you, so I can relate to our members which candidates will look out for their interests.
I would love to meet with you at your convenience. Home 754-0420 Cell 355-0439

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Andrea Darlington
Tennessee State Director, CEAI
Christian Educators Association International

How did u get the techniques to compose ““Shelby County unified school board appointee Billy Orgel (District 7) - Eye on Schools Merger”?

Thanks ,Katrin

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As the process for merging Shelby County's schools accelerates into action, we'll provide bonus coverage here at, with a particular focus on the 21-member transition team and the 23-member unified school board. Comment early and often. If you have any tips or suggestions you wish to share, contact Zack McMillin at or 529-2564.

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