Alicia Lindsey named chief financial officer of Shelby County Schools

PHOTO: via Shelby County Schools

Shelby County Schools announced today that Alicia Lindsey, who has been the district’s interim chief financial officer since Sept. 2013, is now the permanent CFO.

Lindsey headed the district’s financial operations during a series of school closings and dramatic budget cuts this year. Next year is likely to bring more of the same, as the state-run Achievement School District continues to take over additional schools in Memphis and the district adjusts to the existence of six new school districts in the Memphis suburbs. School system officials have suggested that more dramatic changes to the district’s budgeting process, including bringing more decisions down to the school level and cutting at the central office, are possible, especially as the charter sector in the district continues to grow.

Shelby County Schools has been looking to fill some key positions on its cabinet, including CFO, chief academic officer, and chief communications officer, for the past several months.

From the district’s press release:

“Ms. Lindsey has continually demonstrated exceptional leadership and knowledge in managing the District’s finances over the past year despite numerous pressures and financial obstacles related to the merger and municipal separation,” [Superintendent Dorsey] Hopson stated. “I believe she has been instrumental in positioning SCS for success with the development of a balanced and responsible budget that, above all, invests the most possible resources for our students. I am excited about Ms. Lindsey’s future with the District.”

Since becoming Interim CFO in September, Lindsey moved SCS to a 100-percent direct deposit payroll system to promote financial security and savings for employees. In April, she instituted a virtual card payment system, which provides a 1-percent rebate on all payments for vendor services. The project has generated roughly $200,000 in revenue in the first three months. As part of the District’s ongoing commitment to teacher and leader effectiveness, Lindsey has also been directly involved with efforts to create a strategic career pathways and compensation system for educators.

In the year ahead and beyond, Lindsey and the Finance team will be charged with aligning the budget to the newly adopted 80/90/100 strategic goals, as well as managing the District’s footprint in the community, from a financial perspective, as the local education landscape continues to evolve.

Lindsey previously served as Director of Budget & Fiscal Planning, both for legacy Memphis City Schools and the unified school district, from April 2009 through September 2013. She spent nearly 15 years prior with Shelby County Government, including the positions of accounting supervisor, investment manager and accounting manager for the Trustee’s Office, budget controller and manager of grants accounting and revenue.

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.