(Memphis) The attorney who’s never been a teacher or educator now leads one of the largest school districts in the nation.
The Shelby County School board is unanimously supporting interim superintendent Dorsey Hopson to take the full-time job.
With so much unknown about Hopson’s educational philosophy, News Channel 3 asked Hopson what kind of school district he hopes to create for Shelby County children and parents.
“We’ve done so much, we have so much to do, and I think it would be irresponsible to walk away,” said Hopson.
There was a time when Hopson didn’t want the superintendent job, but now he’s changed his mind, saying it’s time to focus on several areas the district is struggling.
“My main focus is on literacy. Literacy has been a big issue across the state and nation. We’re going to suggest to the board that we simplify in some respects the curriculum,” said Hopson.
Hopson wants to prioritize the lowest performing schools and come up with a plan of specific action for each.
He says it’s also important to increase rigor and educational opportunities at high achieving schools.
Some parents are questioning the board choice for one of the largest districts in the country, considering Hopson’s experience.
“Being a lawyer says something. I’m a lawyer, but I don’t think I could run a school system,” said Jennifer Miller.
Tamika Hamer disagrees and says his education experience is being underrated.
“He’s been a student before so he’s not ignorant to education, and he’s been an attorney so that means he’s had some degree of higher education,” said Hamer.
Hopson says he has overseen the biggest school merger in US history and he deems it a success despite transportation, payroll and security problems.
“I’m also learning more and more, and I know more about education than I did three months ago or six months ago and I plan to continue learning,” said Hopson.
Hopson says he plans to surround himself with people who have vast experience in education and admit when he doesn’t know.
The school district says there is no Tennessee law that requires you to have educational experience to be superintendent, you just have to have a degree.