Will Shelby County Schools Leader Be Tennessee’s Next Commissioner of Education?

UPDATE: It has been reported that Hopson is leaving the district for a corporate gig – presumably to practice law.

I’m an unreliable source for unsubstantiated information, so if you’re looking for gossip I’m typically not your girl. But today I’m dying to dish on the circumstances surrounding an announcement coming out of Memphis, TN.

Remember when Shelby County Schools (SCS) superintendent Dorsey Hopson out of the clear blue West Tennessee sky publicly endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee one month before Election Day?

Well, word on the street is Dorsey Hopson is tendering his resignation TODAY. While the news is not jaw-dropping, I do however find it interesting — particularly if Hopson grabs the baton from outgoing education commissioner Candice McQueen. I mean, it was just a few short months ago when Hopson penned a joint letter with Nashville school director Dr. Shawn Joseph to Gov. Bill Haslam requesting dispensation from TNReady test results and eradication of the test. Further, Mr. Hopson has been involved in at least two highly publicized lawsuits against the state over funding and release of student contact information to charter management organizations.

On the other hand, the superintendent of Tennessee’s largest school district hasn’t shied away from bold decisions like merging and closing schools while expertly navigating community outrage by working with, not around, parents and other stakeholders. Also, Shelby County Schools, a large urban district, is experiencing marked enrollment increases during a period when districts like Nashville are losing thousands of students.

Finally, and most significantly, under Hopson’s leadership, the number of Shelby County schools performing in the top five percent in the state moved up from 13 to 39. And get this: 11 schools moved off the list of lowest-performing schools in the state leaving 18 district-run schools on the Priority List (compared to Nashville’s increase to 21), and a total of 9 charters have or are scheduled to be closed at year’s end.

On second thought, maybe the resignation announcement and sneaking suspicion of Hopson as Ed Czar are not quite as interesting as represented at the beginning of this post. Maybe he’s the answer to my post last week: Governor-Elect Lee: Let These 4 Things Guide Your Education Decisions.

Have my prayers been answered if Dorsey Hopson is appointed the next Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education?

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