Memphis school board to convene committee of teachers, parents, students, in search of new superintendent

It won’t just be school board members who will have a front row seat in helping to pick the next leader of Shelby County Schools.

Board Chairwoman Shante Avant announced Tuesday the board will convene a superintendent search committee comprising district staff, teachers, parents, and students to provide input on candidates. School board members will discuss the details of the search committee at a 4 p.m. budget meeting Wednesday.

“I think we need to engage the community, and the only way we can do that is if we have representation from all folks of constituents who are in the district,” Avant said after Tuesday’s board meeting. “All of that is going to be important because we haven’t done a search for a superintendent in over 10 years.”

The search committee is expected to discuss a timeline for the national search and firms to help find candidates.

Board members have said they hope to name someone by August, but that the search could stretch into 2020. Former superintendent Dorsey Hopson, who had been the district’s attorney, was appointed in 2013 after the school board decided to forego a national search.

Hopson announced his resignation as superintendent in November. The school board tapped one of his deputies, Joris Ray, as the interim superintendent. He started last week.

Ray is a career Memphis educator and has expressed interest in the permanent position. Last week he presented a 90-day plan to the board for changes he would like to make, including hiring assistants for second-grade teachers, training all staff on how to spot childhood trauma, and adding English and math coaches at high schools.

This story has been updated to reflect that school board members will finalize details of the search committee at a 4 p.m. budget meeting Wednesday.