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Memphis-Shelby County School names first Black woman as interim security chief

The district announced Tuesday that Carolyn Jackson will be taking over the position, marking the first time a Black woman has held the role.
Credit: Memphis Shelby County Schools

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray announced Carolyn Jackson as Interim Chief of Safety and Security Tuesday for the district, marking the first time an African American woman has held the position. 

Jackson joined MSCS in 2007 with more than 29 years of accomplished, diverse law enforcement experience. 

MSCS said that under her leadership, she has been influential in the administrative, technical, and professional security functions of the District.

“Ms. Jackson is a nationally recognized leader in school safety-based services and training and has been tremendously effective in improving safety measures for employees and schools, including handling emergency response situations," Ray said. “As the first African American woman to serve in this role, it’s an honor to be a part of her historic journey in leadership.”

In her previous role as Executive Director, Jackson was responsible for the development of various security technology solutions in the Department of Safety and Security.

RELATED: MSCS announces chief of security's retirement

The district said Jackson has been instrumental in securing state and federal grants and managing the department’s budget, all while overseeing the work of more than 200 employees.

Jackson began her career in law enforcement with the Memphis Police Department in 1978.

She graduated Cum Laude from LeMoyne-Owen College in 1995, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business. She is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Academy, and 197th Session in Quantico, Virginia.

Former chief of safety and security, Gerald Darling, retired on January 31 after serving 13 years in the District.

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