MSCS reviewing allegations of impropriety against Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray

Educators call for deeper review of Dr. Ray’s record as a Superintendent
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:07 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 5:48 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis-Shelby County Schools are reviewing allegations of impropriety against Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray.

MSCS board members held an emergency executive session Wednesday night with legal counsel Herman Morris. It was recommended to begin an external review of the allegations against Dr. Ray, according to MSCS.

The move comes after allegations the superintendent engaged in a sexual relationship with at least one MSCS employee. The allegations stem from statements Dr. Ray’s ex-wife made during divorce proceedings that were initially filed last year.

School board members insisted Thursday that this is just a review and not yet an investigation.

“We have called for a full and complete review into these allegations,” said Michelle McKissack, MSCS board chair. “If there are allegations of impropriety against the superintendent, the sole position we oversee at the school district, then it’s our sworn obligation to look further into the allegations.”

The board says Dr. Ray will continue to serve as superintendent while the review is underway. The next steps will be decided pending the outcome of the review.

“It was just through a concern coming from our constituents, from families, from parents we received,” McKissack said. “I’m sure every board member received emails and calls and things of that nature, so we responded to that call.”

Ray issued a statement on the issue Thursday afternoon:

At the center of the review is a complaint for divorce on the grounds of adultery filed by Dr. Ray’s wife back in November of last year.

In the complaint, she lists three alleged names as women her husband had a sexual relationship with during their more than 20-year marriage.

Through his attorneys, Dr. Ray admitted in the court filings to extramarital affairs and said his wife consented or implied consent to the acts.

However, at least one of the three names listed in the complaint is a current or former employee of MSCS, according to a 2021 SCS employee directory.

Plus, a fourth woman, who is also a possible senior-level employee within the district, allegedly organized phone calls and went on trips with Dr. Ray’s supposed girlfriends.

School board member Althea Greene reviewed what the possible violations were.

“I think it would be the impropriety, and so we have to be careful as a school board. We create policy and it’s important to make sure our one employee is not violating a policy or something that is in the code of ethics or his contract,” Greene said. “At the end of the day, my confidence in Dr. Ray remains strong and solid.”

The school board hopes to have independent counsel hired within a week and asks the public to allow due process to play out and not rush to judgment, McKissack said.

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