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'You have one job' | MSCS educator calls out board members for delaying the superintendent search again

A local teacher's union president said it's unacceptable for the school board to not have a new superintendent in place by the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis Shelby County Schools educator weighed in on yet another delay in the search for a new superintendent.

MSCS school board members said they won't have the job filled by the start of the school year in August, after missing their initial deadline to have the position filled by May. 

The President of the United Education Association of Shelby County, Danette Stokes, spoke on behalf of the district's educators, and to say the least, they're fed up.

"That is unacceptable, and it is totally out of order, because you had almost a year to get a superintendent in place," Stokes said. "The things they're doing now should've been done in September. They should've been having a retreat in September, October, November, December of last year."

Thursday night, Board Members held another retreat to discuss the search.

After hours of talk, the board concluded they're still figuring out what to do after nearly a year of searching for a new leader; including a months long process by an outside search firm.

The board did not give a specific updated timeline on the search and when it will pick up again.

"You have one job," Stokes said. "Hire a superintendent. One employee. Educators, principals, we have hundreds of students that we are held accountable for every year. If we said, 'oh we're just going to sit back and wait another year to teach them' what would happen to society?"

The district is handling the search on top of dealing with the Tennessee third grade retention law. Three-quarters of MSCS' third grader did not pass the TCAP reading test. They have the option to retake the test or file an appeal to the state in order to move onto the fourth grade.

Teachers will have to work through the summer to keep students on track, without a the guidance of a permanent superintendent in place.

"We're the largest school district," Stokes said. "It took us 10 months and we still don't have one. Teachers, some of us are going to be working during this summer to help our third graders move to the next grade because they are academically successful. They are not non-readers. They can read, so we're going to be working hard to make sure they have some type of stability, so when they come back in the fall at least they will move to the next grade."

Several MSCS board members did not return our calls for comment.

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