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Laura Faith Kebede

Laura Faith Kebede covers Memphis schools for Chalkbeat Tennessee. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and most recently covered county government, schools and religion at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia.

‘I am the least among you,’ says Ray, vowing to put Memphis student needs first

By Updated: February 07, 2019 5:41 PM CT | Published: February 07, 2019 5:35 PM CT

Interim Superintendent Joris Ray said Thursday he would introduce a new organizational chart for Shelby County Schools staff to reference – students are at the top, and Ray is at the bottom.

“I’m the least among you when it comes to importance,” said Ray, speaking at a press conference just one day after the district’s board voted to approve his contract. “… Whomever sits on (the) cabinet or in our schools, we’re going to have a servant attitude. This is why we’re here.”

During his 16-minute “State of Shelby County Schools” address, given at the district’s newest specialty school for transportation science, Ray reiterated his 90-day plan that prioritizes early literacy, curbing student misbehavior and preparing students for life after high school.

His plan includes hiring second-grade teaching assistants to help with reading, training all staff on how to spot childhood trauma and introducing an ACT predictor exam. He also wants to add English and math coaches for high school teachers, with the goal of ensuring a high level of classroom instruction.

Specifics about how these plans will be implemented and paid for is expected next month, when the district’s proposed budget is presented to the school board.

You can watch the full address here. Read Ray’s full presentation here.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools. Originally posted on Chalkbeat by  Feb. 7, 2019.



<strong>Joris Ray</strong>

Joris Ray

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