Shelby Commission Interviews For Vacant School Board Seat

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(Memphis) The Shelby County Commission is in the process of appointing a new school board member after a spot was vacated by Reginald Porter, but until then, the 16th largest school district in the nation is operating with a board of just six.

The Shelby County Commission is considering 11 candidates for the District 6 Shelby County School Board seat.

District 6 includes Whitehaven and other parts of South Memphis, and the Memphis Shelby County Education Association says whomever the commission picks to have that seat is very important to them because there are several schools slated to close in that district.

“We certainly would desire a candidate who is sensitive to the students and the parents in that community. We desire a candidate who will be sensitive to the employees of the district,” said Keith Williams, president of the Memphis-Shelby Education Association.

On Wednesday, commissioners interviewed the list of candidates who applied.

Commissioner Melvin Burgess is concerned about several key criteria.

“The first is academic achievement. The second is safety, and the third is accountability. So in that order I’m asking those questions. You know, what can you do to enhance the achievement gap and what can you do to ensure our kids are safe,” said Burgess.

In two weeks, commissioners will nominate their choice from the interviews and hold a vote, then appoint whoever wins.

Commissioner Heidi Shafer said she believes it’s important to get someone into place sooner rather than later.

“We need to make sure that we’ve got folks on the board who are responsive to the problems that of course are going to come up,” said Shafer.

All members of the current board were appointed by the commission and later elected by their districts.

Whoever is appointed for this spot will serve for a year until they will have to be elected in Memphis.

Candidates who were interviewed Wednesday include:

Shante Avant
Perry Bond
Tony Braxton
Justin Casey
Cherry Davis
Clara Ford
Rosalyn Nichols
David Page
Joya Smith
Rhoda Stigall
Sharon A. Webb