In its first meeting as a smaller seven-member Shelby County Schools board of education, the board members voted unanimously to make Dorsey Hopson the permanent superintendent of the county-wide school district.
In its first order of business the board voted to drop "interim" from Superintendent Hopson's title and end the contract with a consulting firm for the district's superintendent search.
Board members, who all praised Hopson for his role as interim superintendent during the transition and merger of legacy Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools, said they'll hold a meeting to allow community to voice their opinions on Hopson being elevated to permanent superintendent.
"This man brought everybody together, kept our focus, and he did so with honor and integrity," said David Pickler, board member. "When all others were losing their head, he kept his head."
"A lot of people put a lot of value in having an educator as a superintendent," added David Reaves, board member. "I do see value in that but I see even more value in the skillset you just can't get through education."
Hopson was named interim superintendent of the merged county school district March 27. He had been the former chief attorney for legacy Memphis City Schools.
Superintendent Hopson is not a traditional educator. He has no experience in the classroom as a teacher. Still, board members expressed confidence in his abilities as a leader.
"I was asked a question, 'What would I look for in a superintendent'," said Kevin Woods, board member. "Overall my answer always came back to honesty, transparency and commitment to children, and over the course of the last year I've seen that from Superintendent Hopson."
"I remain humbled that you continue to show confidence in me and the staff," the new superintendent of SCS said. "This is the hardest job I've had in my life. It's a lot of work but so important."
Immediately after Tuesday's special called board meeting, Superintendent Hopson ducked out the back door and did not talk to FOX13 News.
In April SCS board members agreed to suspend its superintendent search for one year as recommended firm PROACT Search, which is based out of Illinois. PROACT had agreed to help the county merged school district find and screen superintendent candidates.
Board members in April had asked to wait until after schools merger to seek a superintendent and let John Aitken guide the transition.
Hopson had agreed to stay on as interim superintendent of SCS as well as maintaining his duties as interim superintendent for legacy MCS.
How much will Superintendent Hopson make as the permanent superintendent for the countywide school district? He was making $270,000 as interim superintendent during the merger between the city and county school systems.
There was no timeline when PROACT's superintendent search would restart, but it was believed the search would have restarted in September. Within five months of suspending the superintendent search, the new six-member board Tuesday evening decided to end the contract with PROACT and begin contract negations with Hopson as superintendent.
PROACT was retained for $23,000, not including travel expenses.
FOX13TwoScreenExperience: Hopson's background, as provided by SCS:
FOX13 News reporter Kristin Tallent contributed to this report.