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Dr. Sharon Griffin tapped to lead Achievement School District

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Achievement School District has a new leader, and it's a name Memphians will recognize.

Dr. Sharon Griffin was officially introduced as the new Assistant Commission of School Turnaround and Chief of the Achievement School District on Tuesday.

A Memphis native, Dr. Griffin graduated from Hamilton High School and even attended the University of Memphis and Le Moyne-Owen College.

She's dedicated more than 25 years to providing educational opportunities to Mid-South students. She has been SCS' chief of schools since 2017.

"I'll bring what I learned on a greater scale to the highest-need schools in Memphis and across the state," she said during a conference call. "

This will be the fist time someone from the Memphis area will be heading up the ASD. 30 of the 32 schools in the ASD are in the Memphis area.

The ASD's goal essentially is to take over the lowest performing schools in the state and try to make them better.

Giffin said she's equipped to do so. She managed SCS's Izone schools, which is the district's equivalent to the ASD schools.

She hopes to have a better relationship with SCS.

"We are not enemies, ASD and Shelby County Schools. I want to make sure this role bridges the gap," said Griffin.

Shelby County Education Association Executive Director Keith Williams said her hire creates concern.

"We have had a late two or three chiefs leave this school system and that is concerning to me. It seems we are very fluid and unstable," he said.

Shelby County Schools' media relations team released a statement saying,

The outstanding innovative turnaround work in our district continues to garner regional and national attention, so it’s no surprise that our team members are often sought after. Dr. Sharon Griffin has served our district well in various capacities for over 20 years and built a strong academic road map that would allow the work to continue, even in her absence. While we don’t want to lose her, we are supportive of her desire to reach her personal and professional goals of supporting students across our state. There is a lot of good work that’s happening in our schools and across the District, therefore, Dr. Angela Whitelaw will assume the Chief of Schools role as we search for a permanent replacement.

Griffin will start her new position May 1. She will make $180,000 a year.

State officials said her salary aligned to the new salary schedule that was established last year when we did the re-organization and brought the ASD under the state salary requirements.