Superintendent Marie Feagins selects team to develop MSCS strategic plan

A woman with short dark hair and wearing a light blue suit kneels beside a young student wearing a green shirt and tan pants and sitting in a chair in a school gym.
Memphis-Shelby County School Superintendent Marie Feagins has developed a team to create a new strategic plan for the district. Also part of her 100-day plan is a student transition team. (Ariel J. Cobbert for Chalkbeat)

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Superintendent Marie Feagins said Thursday that she has assembled a 63-person team of Memphis leaders and educators to help develop and execute a new strategic plan for Memphis-Shelby County Schools, the first such plan since 2021.

The new strategic plan is part of Feagins’ 100-day plan published online, where she is logging progress on dozens of initiatives.

Feagins has said she expects the school board to approve a new strategic plan in September, after the Aug. 1 school board election, in which five seats are on the ballot.

“It is important for me to hit the ground running and see results fast where possible,” Feagins said in a statement announcing the team Thursday. “I know my vision is strong and will yield positive outcomes. But the ‘how’ is equally important to the ‘what.’ These seasoned educators, students, and community and business leaders will share their journeys and provide sharp recommendations for solutions.”

The district and board have faced pressure to specifically communicate their priorities and goals, as stakeholders particularly want to see improved academic results and a comprehensive plan for school buildings.

Board members recently offered to provide such a plan to state Rep. Mark White, a Memphis Republican, in response to his proposal to expand the Memphis school board with state appointed members. White ultimately set the proposal aside.

Feagins’ team is divided into five committees, which each have roughly a dozen people. (You can find the full list on the district’s website.) The group will receive support from a smaller transition team that includes former and current superintendents.

Rows of people sit in chairs in a school gym.
Among the co-chairs for a new team developing a strategic plan for Memphis-Shelby County Schools are district officials Angela Whitelaw and Tito Langston, pictured here sitting on either side of Superintendent Marie Feagins. (Ariel J. Cobbert for Chalkbeat)

Memphis City Council Chairman JB Smiley Jr. is co-chairing Feagins’ new, expanded team alongside Stefani Everson-Phillips, a longtime communications official with the school district.

Smiley’s presence is notable. Memphis-Shelby County Schools has been more vocal in the past year about wanting to reestablish a relationship with the City of Memphis. The city has not had a funding relationship to the district since the old Memphis City Schools merged with the county school system.

Among the committee co-chairs are two current members of the MSCS cabinet: Angela Whitelaw, the top academics official, and Tito Langston, the district’s chief financial officer.

The team also includes elected and government officials, business and philanthropic leaders, and representatives from local colleges, but not the University of Memphis. Directors of local education organizations and other educators complete the group. Some are former district employees.

It was not immediately clear if the meetings would be open to the public.

There are no students on the team. In Feagins’ 100-day plan, she lists a series of three meetings in May with a “student transition team.” It is unclear whether that group is involved with the team working on the strategic plan.

Laura Testino covers Memphis-Shelby County Schools for Chalkbeat Tennessee. Reach Laura at

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