Superintendent Joris Ray signed a four-year contract with Shelby County Schools on Tuesday, two months after the school board appointed him.
His annual salary will be $285,000 — the same salary he made as interim superintendent and the same as his predecessor, Dorsey Hopson. That’s also how much Nashville’s school district, which has about 24,000 fewer students, has paid its recent leaders.
Ray was interim superintendent for about three months before the school board abandoned a national search and unanimously voted to give him the permanent position in late April.
“Thank you for your vote of confidence. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead in the very district where I was once a student,” Ray said after Tuesday’s unanimous vote. “This is the beginning.”
The board suspended its policy to give 14 days of public notice before approving a superintendent’s contract so that it could go into effect July 1, the beginning of the budget year. Board member Kevin Woods said “there’s been no shortage of public notice,” since Ray’s appointment was heavily publicized.
Ray’s supporters, mostly teachers and administrators who have worked with him during his two decades with Memphis schools, donned “Stay with Ray” T-shirts and flooded the meeting in April when school board members met to appoint him to the permanent position.
“I think this contract just solidifies our faith in him getting the job done,” Woods said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The school board is still working on how to evaluate the district leader’s performance. A few board members have said they want to incorporate student test scores and progress toward the district’s literacy and graduation goals.