Dorsey Hopson resigns as head of SCS to work in private sector

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson announced he will step down from his position as the county's top educator.

Hopson will begin a new job at Cigna starting in January 2019. He submitted his resignation to the school board Tuesday morning.

After six years on the job, Hopson said the decision was extremely difficult, but in the end he wanted to spend more time with his family.  He will continue to support the school system as a dedicated parent and community member, he said.

"I can walk away knowing that this district is in much better shape than when I started," he said a conference announcing his departure.

"When we merged in 2013 I mean the question was, is school going to even open? We went from $100 million structural deficits to two years worth of surpluses. We went from laying off 2,000 people to giving people a living wage. From closing schools to building new schools in inner-city Memphis."

Hopson says he has two children in county schools and looks forward to being "dad in chief."

SCS board chairwoman Shante Avant said the board wished Hopson well and appreciated his transparency during his term.

"No, Superintendent and his team have not always gotten it right but we have appreciated and acknowledged errors in transparency and the repair process. I think it has made us stronger as a district," she said.

Almost a year ago, the school board extended Hopson's contract until 2020 and his pay increased to $285,000.  Hopson will not receive a payout, Avant said.

There had been rumors for months that Hopson was leaving the top job at SCS, with some speculating he could be getting the top education job in Tennessee, after State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced she was leaving her position.

The district will announce an interim superintendent before the end of the Christmas break.

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