SCS plans on naming interim chief before winter break after Hopson resigns

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The largest school system in the state is now looking for a new leader.

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson announced Tuesday morning that he's stepping down and taking a job in the private sector. School officials say they plan on naming an interim before winter break.

Hopson cited his role in guiding the district through mergers, de-mergers, closures, providing employees a living wage and eliminating millions in deficits among his achievements.

"I'm just really proud of the work that we've done together," he said.

Looking ahead, a new leader must take the reins. We asked school board chairwoman Shante Avant if they have anyone in mind.

"There isn't. Board members will take time next week to meet together in executive session to discuss options for an interim and then how we want to move forward in the process of choosing a successor."

Hopson didn't say whether he thinks the permanent person for the job should be chosen from a national pool. He says it needs to be someone that works well with the new Shelby County Commission.

"I think most importantly from the interim perspective, it needs to be somebody who can reassure somebody doing the teaching and learning every day that things are going to be okay," Hopson said.

"I think we have enough people here in Memphis who are qualified. But still I think it should be bigger than just the Memphis search," parent Dexter Davis said.

Davis has two children in SCS schools and four children who previously attended.

"I think the parents should be in on it as well, as far as making decisions go. Because it's our children," he said.

Davis isn't the only one with that opinion.

Memphis Lift, which is a group made up of parents and grandparents of children attending under performing schools, issued a statement saying:

"Parents should be part of the conversations about who will lead our schools next. Too many of our kids are still trapped in failing schools and are being left behind. So our next superintendent has to be willing to work with parents to do better for our kids." 

On another note, almost a year ago Hopson's contract was extended to 2020 and his salary was increased to $285,000. The board chairwoman told us there will be no payout.

Hopson's resignation is effective January 8.