All kinds of stuff: Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, Sleeman Creme Ale, no more Deals, on hiatus from Sunday brunch, and more

– Last night I went to a reception at Bluefin, held by Mpact Memphis, to honor two outstanding groups who are working to positively impact the education inner-city children receive.

I spent quite a bit of time talking with a first-year East High teacher, who came to the high school through the Teach for America program. Teach for America addresses the inequalities in our school system by getting some of the brightest college graduates from all over the country, majoring in all fields of study, to commit two years to teaching in inner-city schools in low-income neighborhoods.

The East High teacher I spoke to explained that not all of the Teach for America teachers will remain in education once they complete their two years, nor are they expected to. But, she told me, because they are the best and brightest they will go on to become leaders in the corporate world and in the realm of public policy. “Can you imagine how much better public schools would be today,” she asked me, “if all of our leaders had that classroom experience in their background?” Great point.

She also explained to me the prestige of the program. “Many of the people who enroll in our program are from schools like Yale and Harvard and would like to work for companies like Goldman Sachs. Well, guess what? Goldman Sachs likes to see Teach for America on resumes.” Again, good point. If you can convince a headstrong 8th-grader to do what you want, then persuading corporate middle managers should be a piece of cake.

– I also met representatives of New Leaders for New Schools, a group that is preparing the next generation of principals to take the lead in public school systems. They have to go through a rigorous training program, and they commit to five core principles (principles for principals) based on the belief that every child can attain excellence, given access to adults who believe in them and who know how to unlock the potential of every child.

I am just thrilled to no end to see the Memphis City Schools involved in both of these movements. MCS has really won my support and my enthusiasm over the past 8 months for all they are doing to help children succeed.

I’m also thrilled to see Mpact Memphis promoting this type of event. Mpact has always focused on working with its corporate partners – the FedExes and Autozones and the like – to recruit and retain talented people for those types of companies. But, it’s always been my belief that Mpact needs to reach out just as strongly to those working in education. To everyone who put the event together, great job.

– After the event I stopped by (of course) the Flying Saucer, then went to Big Foot Lodge where I had a four-cheese burger topped with sauteed mushrooms. MAN was that good. I noticed that they now have Sleeman Creme Ale on draft. The bartender told me that a 34 oz. Sleeman Creme Ale was only 5 bucks. Now that’s a deal!

– Speaking of Deals… I have resigned from the Deal of the Week blog I had been writing for the Commercial Appeal since April. When I started writing Deal of the Week, I figured there would be a certain amount of fame/prestige involved in writing for the CA’s site… and to some extent there has been, but honestly, in the eight months since, my personal blog has brought me more fame and more readers than the CA. So I want to focus all my energy here. Also, for what they were paying me it just wasn’t worth having a responsibility on my plate when I woke up on Sunday mornings.

– Speaking of Sunday mornings… back in winter 2003-04 I took a hiatus from Sunday brunch at Sleep Out Louie’s. I’m going to be taking another one this winter. The reason is, I’m working on a major website (not for work, but a side project) that I want to roll out no later than April 1, and Sunday is the best day to work on it. Drinking a bottle of champagne with brunch and being wasted by 2 PM every Sunday robs me of too much time and brain power that I need right now.

This does not mean that I won’t be showing up at all at Sleep Out’s on Sunday. It’s just that there won’t be a 99.9% chance that I’ll be there by 11:30 AM for the next few months. Rather, Sundays at SOL will be like, say, Thursday nights at the Saucer… no one expects me to be there, but there’s still a very good chance I’ll wander in for a beer or two.

I want to make it clear that my hiatus has nothing to do with the bar… Sunday brunch at SOL is back and better than ever. This is just a personal decision that makes sense right now. So no one at SOL should take it personally… and it’s not a permanent hiatus. I’ll be back by spring at the latest.

– Speaking of SOL… Crash Kole, Bobby Durango, and Josh Lemons play tonight at 7:30. I think they’ll have a drummer backing them up this time too.

– Best quote I heard in the past 24 hours: “She’s a witch with a capital B.” Heh. That’s a good one. I’ll have to remember that one to use myself. I better not say where I heard it or who said it.

– In the news: Looks like Target is finally coming to Midtown.

– Check Thaddeus Matthews’ blog today for a hilarious Photoshopped image of Rickey Peete allegedly retrieving cash that was left for him in his office’s restroom.

That’s all for now. I’m typing this in a hurry, so apologies for any spelling/grammar mistakes I didn’t catch. Think I’ll hit Costa Vida for some take-out before I go back to work.