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On Friday, May 12, School Board members will gather for a retreat to discuss their vision for the next steps in the Memphis-Shelby County Schools superintendent search. Tomeka Hart Wigginton, who has facilitated retreats for previous school boards, will facilitate Friday’s retreat. Wigginton served on the school board from 2005 to 2013 and is a former middle and high school teacher. She now serves as an executive in the nonprofit sector.
The nine board members remain united in their commitment to work toward the best interests of students. The retreat will allow them an opportunity to dig deeper into their collective work.
They recently shared their hopes for Friday’s retreat.
DISTRICT 1: Michelle R. McKissack
It’s been 10 years since a full superintendent search was conducted, and more than 10 years since the policy regarding the superintendent was revised. As a member of the MSCS board, I want to focus on taking the time at the retreat to get the superintendent search done right.
DISTRICT 2: Rev. Dr. Althea Greene, Board Chair
My hopes and goals for the retreat are that we will be receptive to a Board governance overview, that we will understand the role of advocacy groups and community input in this process, that we will respectfully own and accept the MSCS Board’s responsibility, that we will realize that we must respect each other’s opinions, and that we reaffirm that children must be first in all of our decisions.
DISTRICT 3: Stephanie Love
I hope for a clear path forward with all board members involved. It has been a trying journey, and passions are high, but we all wish for the same end goal – a superintendent to lead our students to academic success.
During this time, I’d like to review the superintendent’s qualifications and evaluation policies to ensure our search aligns with both. I also hope that all board members have an opportunity to express themselves while remaining respectful toward one another.
The board’s main goal is hiring a superintendent, but I want the community to know that we may not be able to move as quickly as the public would like. The community spent hours creating a plan and these groups deserve to know how appreciative we are.
We will dissect the community plan and develop a comprehensive plan that reflects the wishes of the board and the community. I am confident that we can do that efficiently with the community on our side.
DISTRICT 4: Kevin Woods
The goal of this retreat is to clearly articulate the necessary steps and expectations for selecting a great superintendent and quickly return to working efficiently as a team. Getting the best person for this moment remains paramount.
DISTRICT 5: Sheleah Harris
This is a rare opportunity for us to shift the trajectory of the entire city. As a board, our actions must be intentional, thoughtful and strategic to ensure we have a leader with the capacity to cast a strong vision and ensure our next generation has access to equitable resources to become productive citizens of society.
DISTRICT 6: Keith Williams
It is my hope that the board can accomplish its mission, do what is in policy, and have a discussion that will help strengthen this school system. We want the value of our conversation to strengthen the education of the students. That’s our task – to take care of the business of the District in a very professional way.
DISTRICT 7: Frank Johnson
My hopes and goals for the retreat are to secure the basic requirements for the superintendent position, make sure we, as a board, do what we promised the community, and to ensure that we include the community in the remainder of the process! We will keep the process on schedule to find the best superintendent.
DISTRICT 8: Amber Huett-Garcia
At the retreat, it’s my hope that the board agrees on what is most needed in a superintendent position – establishing a vision or statement around this for both the moment we’re in now and over the next five years.
In terms of a timeline, I want to take the time we need to lay a strong foundation for a more transparent process.
Regarding policy, we did not violate it since the qualifications were woven into the rubric, and other board considerations did not need to be defined. However, we should consider adopting the state minimum requirements and qualifications to clarify and eliminate any confusion.
Regarding community input, I want more of a vision around how the public interacts with a finalist slate and gets a window into the pool. I would like to see five or seven finalists and would like to see the public get the opportunity to meet them, share feedback, and share questions they want the board to ask of them.
DISTRICT 9: Joyce Dorse Coleman
My hopes for the retreat are that we make progress toward restoring the trust, get some guidelines to know how to direct the community to have a voice, and set realistic goals.
Memphis-Shelby County Schools
160 S. Hollywood St.
Memphis, TN 38112
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Memphis-Shelby County Schools offers educational and employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, creed, age, disability, national origin, or genetic information.