Hopson and Pickler on New Board and Superintendent

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Dorsey Hopson
  • Dorsey Hopson
If he has any qualms about being chosen as "permanent" Shelby County Schools superintendent by just 6 of the 23 board members he worked with for the last two years, Dorsey Hopson wasn't talking about them Wednesday.

Asked if he could do a brief telephone interview, Hopson replied by email:

"I am deeply honored and humbled by the confidence that the board has shown in my leadership. We have so much work to do and I am excited about this once in a lifetime opportunity to lead and serve our community. We will have many challenges ahead but we will face them in a transparent and responsible way. I look forward to working with our board and the entire community."

Hopson was legal counsel to Memphis City Schools under Dr. Kriner Cash and interim superintendent for a year. His contract details have yet to be worked out.

In its first meeting, the new "seven-member board" that is actually only six members until the seventh slot is filled, unanimously chose Hopson and told the superintendent search firm — which concluded after two months that a viable candidate could not be found given the uncertainty — the deal was done. One week ago the board had 23 members, and within a year it could have 13 members.

The ratio of students to board members in the county system is roughly 24,000-1.

David Pickler
  • David Pickler
The day after the superintendent selection, board member David Pickler was at a meeting of the National School Boards Association to discuss, among other things in the media announcement, "the lack of flexibility local public schools currently face." He is president of the association.

Pickler said school boards in the association range in size from 3 to 23 members. He said the "ideal" size would be 5 to 9 members.

He said Hopson should have "at least a two-year contract and preferably three or four years."

He said that if the suburbs leave the county system his district should still have representation on the county board because it includes parts of Cordova and the Southwind area that are not in Germantown. Pickler's term ends September 1, 2014.

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