District 6: Reginald Porter Jr.
Projects/Process Advisor at FedEx
The Whitehaven resident was another candidate strongly supported by Stand For Children, and he ultimately beat out retired Memphis City Schools principal James Catchings, who has run unsuccessfully for City Council and County Commission. A University of Tennessee graduate, Porter emphasized his experience both as a higher education administrator (at Arkansas State and University of Tennessee Health Science Center) and current role at FedEx. Porter edged out Catchings on the strength of support from all six Republicans (including three from the suburbs) and Memphis Democrat Steve Mulroy.
Porter wrote on his questionnaire that he was the "project lead" on information technology alignment efforts when FedEx absorbed Kinko's in a merger, and also "led efforts" for FedEx in what he called "cross operational company integration of IT systems." In his interview, he appealed to the commissioners to look past the passion every applicant seemed to have in surplus and choose someone "who brings something to the table."
Porter he also cited expertise in community leadership roles "working with communities from all socio-economic backgrounds" and deep commitment to education as "a descendant of three generations of educators." In his final pitch, before being appointed, he talked about his love of Tennessee football and said he'd be the wide receiver capable of making the kind of big plays essential to preventing the process from bogging down.
Porter is the son of Rev. Reginald Porter Sr., the pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church in South Memphis, which during the Memphis City Schools charter surrender debate hosted a rally in favor of forcing consolidation with suburban schools by dissolving the city's school system. That group published an ad that read:
SEPARATE BUT EQUAL HAS NEVER WORKED AND WILL NEVER WORK.
WE STAND TOGETHER, ABSOLUTELY CALLING FOR FAIRNESS, JUSTICE, AND EQUITY FOR CITY AND COUNTY STUDENTS.
WE EXPECT FULL TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY, ENSURING THAT THE MOST VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN OUR SCHOOLS NOT BE DISENFRANCHISED.
WE SUPPORT A UNIFIED SCHOOL SYSTEM.
Porter Jr. is also a member of the board of MPACT Memphis, and his Leadership Academy class this spring cited him for their group's top award.