Superintendent Search: A Letter to Families and Staff from the Shelby County Board of Education

On June 14, 2023, the District's School Board shared a letter with families and staff regarding the Superintendent Search. Read the full letter below. 

Dear Members of the Memphis-Shelby County Community,

The process of selecting the next superintendent of Memphis-Shelby County Schools is a tremendous opportunity for our District, the Board, and the entire Mid-South community. As Board members, we understand the significance of the task before us, and we are working to ensure that we hire the best candidate and get this right. That daunting process has contributed to valid frustrations. Please know that we remain committed to moving forward with transparency, fairness, and a thorough evaluation of all candidates, whether local or national applicants.

At the Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, June 13, the Board made significant progress, including determining Board-approved equivalents related to Policy 1003: Superintendent Qualifications, and determining rubric categories to be used by the search firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), to evaluate candidates. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Board Vice-Chair Sheleah Harris resigned as representative for district 5. We thank her for her service to the community. Her replacement will be appointed by the Shelby County Commission, and we look forward to working with the next strong advocate for district 5.

Over the last few weeks, with the assistance of consultant Tomeka Hart Wigginton, we have taken important steps forward in the search in the following areas:

Reopening Candidate Pool

In our pursuit of excellence, we have made a deliberate decision to request that search firm HYA open the Superintendent pool to new candidates, providing an opportunity for fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to emerge. Simultaneously, we appreciate the dedication of the current candidates who have invested their time and passion in this process. We extend an option for them to remain in consideration or change course. Each candidate will be assessed against Board-established qualifications and the community will have an opportunity to engage with the finalists, ensuring that our next Superintendent possesses the necessary skills, vision, and heart to guide our schools to new heights.

Candidate Qualifications 

We reached a collective agreement on the rubric categories. We will share with HYA that we would like candidates to be assessed on the following: a proven track record of success; a background in community advocacy and courageous decision making; evidence of political savvy; the ability to attract, retain and build team capacity; evidence of a strong academic vision; a history of dynamic and adaptive leadership; ability to demonstrate change management; evidence of strategic leadership in budget and finance; a sound grasp of governance and board leadership, and the ability to positively impact culture and climate.

Board Policy 1003

We formalized the Board-approved equivalents for Policy 1003, which outline the basic requirements for MSCS superintendents. Potential candidates must meet at least the following criteria:

  • Possess experience in teaching and school administration or work experience totaling at least 10 years; and 
  • Have an advanced degree with a concentration related to educational administration, business, finance, leadership, public administration, or policy; and
  • Possess or be eligible for a license of qualification for a superintendent in the state of Tennessee.

This progress gives us hope. 

Together, we can create an educational environment that nurtures every student's potential, embraces diversity, and prepares our future leaders for success. Rest assured that we are committed to finding the best individual to drive academic growth and positive change. We believe in the resilience of our community, we understand that high-quality education is a benchmark of a thriving community, and we are confident that, together, we will find an exceptional leader to guide our District toward excellence.

Sincerely, 

Althea Greene, Chair, District 2

Michelle Robinson McKissack, District 1

Stephanie P. Love, District 3

Kevin Woods, District 4

Keith Williams, District 6

Frank Johnson, District 7

Amber Huett-Garcia, District 8

Joyce Dorse Coleman, District 9

Memphis-Shelby County Schools offers educational and employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, creed, age, disability, national origin, or genetic information.