Achievement School District leader leaving job amid tension over leadership

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Achievement School District leader resigns to take another education job in Tennessee

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) A little more than a year after accepting the job of running Tennessee’s school district for failing schools, Sharon Griffin submitted her two-week notice Friday.

She is resigning as superintendent of the state’s Achievement School District. Griffin’s the fourth person to leave the position in many years and tensions about her desire to change how the state takes over underperforming schools is getting the blame.

Education officials say she’s headed to Nashville to become the chief of innovation for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Griffin made a name for herself at Shelby County Schools heading the district’s underperforming schools placed in so-called I-Zones. The numbers were headed in the right direction. It’s one of the reasons she was hired to take over heading the state’s achievement schools in April 2018.

There was a lot of hope she would succeed because she understood the challenges in  Memphis. Her resignation after just a year has many pointing to a resistance to change.

In fact, an editor at Chalkbeat, a non-profit news organization which focuses on education, believes Griffin’s active vision wasn’t the best fit.

She was able to make a lot of changes and she was the one making those changes right, said Caroline Bauman, Chalkbeat’s community editor. With the ASD, the model isn’t created for a leader to come in and make sweeping changes.

In the meantime, two people will share leadership duties. Bauman thinks ASD must decide what it wants in a leader.

I think the questions moving forward changes for the state, is what are you going to do to ease the burden of all these leadership changes on the people whom it affects most, said Bauman. People and kids.

The state will now conduct a national superintendent search it hopes will be filled by January 2020.

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