MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Members of the Memphis-Shelby County school board are casting a wider net to find the school system’s next superintendent.

Less than two months after former Memphis-Shelby County Schools superintendent Dr. Joris Ray stepped down during an investigation regarding policy violations, the school board is ready to move forward with finding his replacement.

Board member Michelle Mckissack said a hiring firm will assist them with the search and have up to a year to find a new superintendent.

“What we are working on now is honoring what the people want us to do which is to conduct a national search, so we are going to be meeting in the next few days to discuss that to create that committee to talk about finding a search firm to assist us with that process,” she said.

She said school board members hope the search does not take too long.

“I would love to see it if we had a candidate in place by the end of the academic school year so they can start the new school year ready to go, so that is my personal goal but of course, all decisions are made as a board we want to make sure we get the best candidate for the job,” McKissack said.

At a board meeting Tuesday night, some community members told the board they wanted to make sure a local candidate is considered.

McKissack said while they will be hiring a search firm to help find a new superintendent, input from those living in Shelby County will be considered.

“We will have various steak holders from the community, people who are community advocates. We are going have education experts, all different types of people who are going to be a part of this process and we are going to have the search firm that is going to help facilitate all of that,” she said.

McKissack said they are looking for the right fit regardless of where they are from.

“We want to cast the net wide, that person may very well come from this area but we want to say that we want to look as far as we can. We are just looking for the best candidate for what Memphis-Shelby County needs right now,” she said.

McKissack told us the board has not discussed how much they will budget for the hiring firm.