Before forming a process for the unified school superintendent search, committee members say they need more information.
During the committee's first meeting on Friday, Commissioner Sara Lewis says they need to decide on what kind of school district the unified system will be, saying she thinks it should be urban.
Committee Chairman Chris Caldwell says the Transition Planning Commission developed that schematic, combining Memphis and Shelby County school metrics. This includes what the systems were like separately - for instance graduation rates and T-CAP scores - and the vision for the combined school system.
Also discussed at the meeting were timelines and processes that worked in previous superintendent searches. The committee also needs to decide if they will use a search firm and if the search will be local, statewide or nationwide.
"I think it needs to be as broad as possible. I don't think that means that we ignore the candidates that are here in the region, but it needs to be an open, expansive process because this is so crucial," Committee Member Dr. Maxie Dunnam.
A sense of urgency was felt during the committee's meeting as their Aug. 31 deadline quickly approaches. On Aug. 31 the school system will dissolve, but the committee wants to request that the commission gives them a ten day extension.
"The importance is that we take whatever time we need to make sure we make the right decision because it's so important. We all feel a sense of urgency but we don't want to compromise quality and make sure the process is done properly," says Committee Chairman Chris Caldwell.
This committee is in charge of forming the process for finding the superintendent; they are not selecting the superintendent.
The committee is comprised of seven school board members as well as six citizens representing clergy, Dunnam and Dr. LaSimba Gray; business leaders, Deidra Malone and Bridget Chisholm; and parents, Sharon Farley from Shelby County Schools and Veronica Collins from Memphis City Schools.
Their next meeting will be Thursday at 4:30 p.m.