Local 24 News political analyst & commentator Otis Sanford on changes in local school systems

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on changes in local school systems.

A new academic year has begun for local public schools. And as is the case nearly every year, there are plenty of changes.

For example, in the Shelby County School District, a new permanent superintendent is in charge. He is Joris Ray, a veteran of the legacy Memphis City Schools and now SCS. Ray is pledging to bring tremendous energy to the job and will focus on academic parity throughout the district and something he calls social emotional learning, while also working to change the culture for the better.

Meanwhile, Collierville schools also has a new superintendent. Gary Lilly replaces longtime educator John Aitken, who had served as Collierville’s superintendent since the district was formed in 2014. Lilly comes to Collierville from Bristol, Tennessee, where he was director of schools.

And just this week, we learned that Shelby County Schools board member Miska Clay Bibbs has been named chief of staff at Teach for America in Memphis. That organization recruits recent college graduates to teach at least two years, primarily in struggling public schools. The appointment of Bibbs creates a possible conflict that the school board will need to address.

But the administrative moves are secondary to the primary goal. Helping some 110,000 students countywide achieve academic success, while also learning good citizenship, public service, and interpersonal skills. It should be an exciting time for the students, and we wish them all the best. And that’s my point of view.

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