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Street buzz: The next school the superintendent

    What would you like to see in and/or from the superintendent who is hired to run the Unified School District?

    Jeff Shelton

    "(Homegrown) with some national enlightenment as to the inner workings of a large urban district....This is a grand opportunity for the district to access the wealth of young talent and their ideas as to how to guide this unique educational experience with the new consolidated system. Though an educational background is important, someone with stringent leadership abilities and a keen sense of community and diversity will be of great value....The key is to place the dollar value in the education of the student and not so much the administration."

    Ebony Williams

    "The appointed person should have the ability to secure a stable budget that will allow students to have necessary resources, such as textbooks, to aid in academic excellence....There needs to be more focus on literacy for students and resources available when help is needed, as well as assessments to measure what students are actually learning instead of pushing them through to the next level....The TCAP shouldn't be the only 'big assessment' of the year."

    Mark Lee

    "First, the leader must have firsthand experience in the classroom. Having that experience brings an empathetic view of what happens from the teachers' and students' perspectives, which should be considered in making vital decisions to bring about the best results. Secondly, that leader must have proven leadership that is validated by records/data that is undisputed. Lastly, I believe the leader should have such inspiration to motivate all parties – students, parents, school personnel, and stakeholders – to do their best in cultivating a district that will encourage the next generation to discover their giftedness and use it."

    Sarita Wilson-Guffin

    "Someone innovative and well connected, with business and education networking skills. Proven track record of improving test scores and increasing the number of students who graduate and attend college. Understands the culture of Memphis and supports the unified school district. Believes in a quality education for all students. Experience with a large school district and has creative ideas to implement in our school system."

    Donna Harvey

    "I feel a native Memphian would care more about 'our' children than a transient that takes the job because of the salary and to enhance their resume. The decision to look outside of Memphis for a candidate was totally and completely wrong. I've spoken with a lot of parents about this and they feel the same way. Nobody cares about our children the way 'we' do.

    "Furthermore, a native Memphian will want the job because they were more than likely a product of MCS themselves. A person that went through the MCS school system would be perfect for the job. I know there are scores of people here with the talent, education and experience to handle this job. The decision-makers just need to step up and do what needs to be done instead of what is politically correct."

    Alvin Wright

    "The new superintendent needs to have a vision for all students that will lead to every student having the opportunity to be successful in our society. This person needs to deal with any biases or perceptions that exist as it pertains to our students, teachers and other educational staff. The superintendent needs to have the courage, boldness, and wisdom to ensure that every student, teacher and principal is being provided with the necessary resources for development.

    "An environment of 'I can' or 'I will' needs to be fostered instead of 'I can't.' The new superintendent should be aware of the cultural needs of our children to ensure that each one's heritage is properly taught and not distorted. In a nutshell, principals lead, teachers teach, and students come prepared to learn."

    Paula Webb

    "Number one, an individual who is dedicated to the total welfare of our children. I believe our system needs someone who can balance the issues concerning their safety and their education with opportunities to advance and share their knowledge. Although money is truly needed to provide our schools with the best teachers, the best materials and the best facilities, we should not comprise the award of gaining government dollars in a manner that dictates a curriculum that is taxing to both the teachers and the students.

    "Structure, discipline and organization are key components in the chemistry of a successful school system. If the new superintendent has exhibited those characteristics in their career as an educator, then their record will prove it. Not a resume filled with various titles that does not show nor support a successful partnership between faculty, parents and students."

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