Find out where the 2024 Memphis school board candidates stand in Chalkbeat’s voter guide

The front entrance to a red brick building with a large white roof at night with trees and the moon in the background.
Five of nine seats on the Memphis-Shelby County Schools board are up for election on Aug. 1. Here's where the candidates stand on important issues facing Tennessee's largest school district. (Andrea Morales for Chalkbeat)

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Five of the nine seats on Memphis-Shelby County Schools board are on the ballot Aug. 1 at a time of great transition for the school district, which is under the leadership of a new superintendent.

In the last year, the board rebooted a botched superintendent search process to choose a successor to former Superintendent Joris Ray, who departed in scandal in 2022. The board selected Marie Feagins, an education administrator in Detroit, as the new superintendent. She officially took the helm in April.

The process put intense pressure and scrutiny on the board. Now, 20 candidates are vying for board seats for Districts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Each of the five races is contested.

On the horizon for Memphis are the end of federal pandemic relief funds and budget cuts that will impact staff and programs. Aging facilities in the district continue to be a priority, as costs to improve and build new schools are rising. And academic outcomes for Memphis students are under new scrutiny, with new accountability systems from the state.

The board is sure to have at least one new member to represent students and families in District 4, which includes parts of East Memphis, Hickory Hill, and southeast Shelby County. Longtime board member Kevin Woods, who was appointed in 2011 and served through the historic merger of the city and county school systems, is the only incumbent not seeking reelection.

Althea Greene, the District 2 representative and chair of the board for the last two years, as well as Stephanie Love, a longtime board member for District 3, both joined the board during successful runs in 2020.

Board member Frank Johnson of District 7 and Mauricio Calvo of District 5 are both seeking election to their seats for the first time, after joining the board midway through the last four years through appointments to vacancies.

Chalkbeat asked each of the 20 candidates to share more about their positions on the issues facing the district and how they planned to approach their leadership.

Eighteen of them responded (Alvin Crook for District 4 and Chavez Donelson for District 7 did not), and you can read their responses in this voter guide.

Chalkbeat lightly edited and condensed their bios for clarity, but their responses to questions have not been edited by Chalkbeat, other than formatting adjustments to improve readability.

Click on a candidate’s name to read their responses to each question. To compare candidate responses to a specific question, click on that question.

Check your voter registration status here.

Find a sample ballot and polling locations here by entering your name or address.

To view all of the school district maps, go here.

The voter registration deadline is July 2. Early voting begins July 12 and continues through July 27, before Election Day on Aug. 1.

Laura Testino covers Memphis-Shelby County Schools for Chalkbeat Tennessee. Reach Laura at LTestino@chalkbeat.org.

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