February 12, 2024
Dr. Marie Feagins Elected To Steer Largest Public School District In Tennessee
Feagins takes over Memphis-Shelby County Schools after the former superintendent's resigned for alleged sexual relationships with employees.
Dr. Marie Feagins has been elected to serve as the new superintendent of Memphis-Shelby County Schools in Tennessee, the state’s largest public school district.
Fox 13 reports the vote by the board took two rounds after Feagins initially fell one vote shy, with five of the six needed in round one. She ultimately clinched the post with unanimous backing.
In a release, the district noted Feagins’ “enthusiasm for immersing herself in the vibrant culture of Memphis and Shelby County.” Board members were impressed by how the Detroit Public Schools’ Chief of High Schools “solidified herself as a leader who can unite and uplift” schools.
Feagins will take over a district that has lacked a permanent superintendent since August 2022.
Praising her incoming “whole-soul leadership style,” MSCS said Feagins’ work in Detroit “sparked growth in several areas across high schools, reflected in student and staff accomplishments, and her background in media helps her connect with different audiences.”
Among the three final candidates, surveys found Feagins earned unanimous teacher backing alongside 70% community and 78% board member approval ratings. Critiques focused on her limited higher-level district management experience over complex systems.
“Memphis, it is an honor to be named your next Superintendent,” Feagins said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to the School Board, educators, and the community for placing their trust in me to lead our District forward. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to move us from good to phenomenal because that is what OUR city and county deserve.”
She vowed that through collective efforts MSCS will “defy the odds and become a national model of bold, transformational education.”
The process concludes a turbulent era for MSCS leadership.
Previous Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray faced suspension in July 2022 amid accusations of inappropriate staff relations. After an investigation for alleged sexual relationships with employees, he resigned a month later with a nearly $500,000 severance package.
Interim replacement and district CFO Toni Williams was also briefly considered before being removed from contention.
Williams welcomed Feagins in a letter to the MSCS community, writing, “She champions urban education & is excited to join this heartfelt work” Williams publicly praised Feagins as the incoming MSCS superintendent in a Feb. 12 post on X.
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