Memphis college board balks at superintendent finalist slate — science weblog

The method of choosing Memphis-Shelby County Colleges’ subsequent superintendent was thrown into disarray Saturday when college board members raised questions on an outdoor search agency’s number of three finalists shortly after their names had been introduced.

After a public assembly that at occasions turned tense, the board introduced it might pause plans to interview finalists for the place till it receives the names of all 34 candidates.

Board Chair Althea Greene mentioned in an announcement that the board has requested its search agency, Hazard, Younger, Attea and Associates, to contact candidates to search out out whether or not they’re keen to stay within the course of, then launch these names publicly “for full transparency.” 

Of their first public deliberations concerning the course of since voting to pick out the search agency, board members peppered representatives of the suburban Chicago-based firm with questions that made clear they had been unhappy with the method and the outcomes.

“I’m not saying we would like you to return,” Greene mentioned through the assembly. “We aren’t simply going to simply accept this … We recognize what you have got completed, however what I hear is it’s simply not adequate.”

The three finalists Hazard Younger introduced to the board Saturday are Brenda Cassellius, not too long ago of Boston Public Colleges; Carlton Jenkins of Wisconsin’s Madison Metropolitan Faculty District; and Toni Williams, the present interim superintendent of MSCS.

Finalist interviews that had been scheduled for April 21 and 22 have been postponed.

As a substitute of discussing the deserves of the finalists throughout Saturday’s assembly, board members questioned the method that led to the slate of three.

Of the 34 candidates, 21 met {qualifications} for an interview and 12 proceeded to the final stage, the search agency mentioned. The board didn’t have enter on the finalist choices, and Hazard Younger didn’t implement a key board coverage about minimal expertise necessities.

Candidates for the place had been evaluated in opposition to a rubric with 16 classes, which included critiques of software paperwork, plus references, “Memphis connection” and match with MSCS’ wants. Some board members on Saturday requested why they weren’t supplied with the rubric earlier.

The search agency was employed to search out potential successors to former Superintendent Joris Ray, who resigned in August 2022 amid an exterior investigation into allegations that he abused his energy and violated district insurance policies.

Listed below are extra particulars concerning the three candidates the agency recognized:

Brenda Cassellius was not too long ago the superintendent at Boston Public Colleges for 3 years, and was the statewide training commissioner in Minnesota for nearly a decade earlier than that. Cassellius wished to remain longer within the Boston management place, The Boston Globe reported, however left the job final summer time. Her departure was introduced as a mutual determination, however Cassellius informed the Globe that not too long ago elected Boston Mayor Michelle Wu “ought to be capable of choose her personal workforce.”

In Boston, Cassellius diversified the district’s examination faculties, which require checks for admissions, the Globe reported. However throughout her tenure, which ran the size of the pandemic, she confronted criticism from lecturers, principals, and the lecturers union.

Cassellius has ties to Memphis: She acquired her doctorate in training from the College of Memphis in 2007, in line with a resume revealed by Boston Public Colleges, and was a tutorial chief for Memphis Metropolis Colleges’ center faculties from 2004 to 2007. 

Carlton Jenkins introduced plans to retire as superintendent of Wisconsin’s Madison Metropolitan Faculty District in February. He assumed the position in August 2020 after a profession in training that the Wisconsin State Journal wrote included a superintendency in suburban Minneapolis.

“Jenkins has prided himself on being a frontrunner and a job mannequin for Black college students and employees within the district. He has been keen about revamping the district’s studying curriculum,” the Journal wrote. 

In Madison, Jenkins was the district’s first Black superintendent, in line with Lake Geneva Regional Information, and has been the president of the African American Superintendents Affiliation

Toni Williams grew to become the interim superintendent of MSCS final August on the premise that she was not within the position completely. She then modified her place and utilized for the job final month. She has loved help from group and board members alike as she targeted on accountability measures throughout her interim tenure. 

Earlier than she was the interim superintendent, Williams was the chief monetary officer for the district, appointed to the position in 2019 by Ray. She got here to the district from an analogous position at close by Millington Municipal Colleges, and labored for the district’s finance workplace for about three years after town and county districts merged. Williams doesn’t have educational expertise outdoors of her interim position. 

Williams is a local Memphian and a graduate of Whitehaven Excessive Faculty.

It is a growing story and will likely be up to date.

Laura Testino covers Memphis-Shelby County Colleges for Chalkbeat Tennessee. Attain Laura at

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