MSCS school board selects Chief Financial Officer Toni Williams as interim superintendent

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There’s a new temporary top educator for Memphis-Shelby County Schools!

School board members appointed current Chief Financial Officer Tutonial “Toni” Williams to serve as interim superintendent for the district on Tuesday.

Exactly one week ago, the board voted to accept former Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray’s resignation.

The board didn’t waste any time putting a new leader in place to serve as interim superintendent while they get ready to begin the process of finding a new leader for Tennessee’s largest school district.

“I’m just excited, this is home for me again,” Williams said. “I’m a product of this district and I’m looking forward to serve every minute.”

Memphis-Shelby County School board members voted unanimously to select Williams to serve in the district’s top spot until a permanent selection is made.

“We knew that we had someone here that could do this work for us,” said MSCS board Vice Chair Althea Greene. " She’s proven through her service here, so it’s just my privilege to be able to look out and say, ‘hey, we got what we need right here.’”

Greene says she nominated Williams because she has no interest in serving as superintendent permanently.

But who will?

Board Chair Michelle McKissack says the board is in the beginning stages of starting a nationwide search for a permanent superintendent.

A firm to conduct that search still needs to be hired.

“It is definitely a step towards a search, and a national search at that, because we want to cast our net wide and make sure any and everyone who may be interested, whether that is here locally or coming from somewhere else outside of Memphis-Shelby County Schools, this search is open to them,” McKissack said. “We’re going to do a very thorough and robust search.”

McKissack says Williams will remain in the interim role during the search.

There is no word on how long it could take, but she says the board is looking to get it done as quickly as possible.

Williams is a graduate of Whitehaven High School and has served in a leadership role in the district since 2014.

She has two priorities to tackle during her time as interim superintendent.

“Academic performance. I mean we have a dynamic academics team,” she said. “We are a Level 5 district, so I am committing to supporting our academics team to continue that momentum. Number two, our business operations process is in procedure. I want to do a review of that. There’s always opportunities for improvement and so I’m really looking forward to serve over this interim period.”

Monday was the last meeting with the current body of school board members.

Three new board members will be sworn in on August 31.

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