Memphis Education Fund hosts community meetings ahead of national search for next MSCS superintendent

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 10:43 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis-Shelby County School parents, listen up!

The MSCS school board will begin the process to start a national search for the next Superintendent this month, according to Board Chair Althea Greene.

Meanwhile, the district and community groups are looking to hear from you.

Monday night’s meeting and others to follow are being hosted by the Memphis Education Fund. These meetings are to provide district families, staff, and community members with information on current search policies as well as to allow feedback.

“There are policies that the board has and what’s in place, but a lot of times, we don’t know what’s in them,” said Memphis Education Fund Director of Advocacy Venita Dogget.

The search is driven by two different policies: the selection and appointment process, and qualifications.

Phase one of the search and selection policy includes: creating a timeline, establishing criteria for qualifications, recruitment and appointments, identifying the scope of the search (local or national), developing a process for receiving and reviewing applications, and interviewing candidates.

Phase two allows the board to establish additional qualifications for the job with the input of “identified community members.”

The third and final phase discusses the selection process, receiving and reviewing applications, and selecting and interviewing finalists.

Once we get to the point where finalists are selected, the public can attend interview sessions and two community meetings to meet them.

The search is a huge step that will impact the district’s 110,500 students, almost 14,000 employees, and 6,000 educators.

“When you think about just really how large the district is and how many people it touches,” Dogget said, “it actually is a large city.”

It’s been more than a decade since the school district conducted a national search for the next superintendent, according to our news partners at The Commercial Appeal.

How did we get here?

Many of you remember former Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray was appointed to the top spot at MSCS in 2019 after former Superintendent Dorsey Hopson stepped down.

Ray held the position until this past August after allegations of misconduct and extramarital affairs with current and former district staff were made public in July.

Dr. Ray handed the school board his resignation shortly after an investigation was launched, that investigation was concluded but not completed.

At the end of August, district Chief Financial Officer Tuitional “Toni” Williams was appointed to serve as interim superintendent.

Greene says Williams was specifically chosen for the spot because she was not interested in the permanent job.

On Friday, Greene took to Twitter, saying:

“The MSCS Board will kick off a national search for a new superintendent this month with a vote to launch an RFP to find a search firm. From there, we can hire a firm, engage the community and recruit candidates. We expect to name a new superintendent by the end of 2022-2023.”

Meetings are being held on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. virtually and on Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library.

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