Hopson takes on new position as SCS superintendent - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Hopson takes on new position as SCS superintendent

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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EAST MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Dorsey Hopson has worn several hats recently, from general counsel for legacy Memphis City Schools to interim superintendent to his current position as the new permanent superintendent of the merged Shelby County Schools.

"It's been the hardest job  I've ever had, but I think where we are it's a historic occasion, Superintendent Hopson told FOX13 News. "I don't think this is the right time necessarily to change quarterbacks."

Tuesday night at a specially called school district board meeting, after a unanimous board vote to drop interim from his title, Hopson took on his new challenge. In less than 24 hours in being promoted to the position, he and his administration is preparing for what's next for the countywide school district.

MORE: SCS board drops 'interim' from Superintendent Hopson's title

"We're going to suggest to the board that we simplify the curriculum and focus on literacy," the new superintendent said. "Also we're going to focus on those schools that are ASD (Achievement School District) eligible, the bottom 5 percent so to speak. I want to make sure we have a treatment for everyone one of those schools."

Superintendent Hopson says there is also a plan in the works to increase educational offerings to higher performing students.

Even with ideas aside, Hopson's interim tenure as the unified school district was rocky to say the least. The combination of Memphis City and Shelby County districts in July was the biggest urban school merger in United States history. He oversaw $75 million in budget cuts, thousands of layoffs, and witnessed major problems from busing, payroll checks, to school security issues during the first month of the new school year.

Despite all that Hopson said he would, at the very least, give his administration a passing grade.

"Given what we had to work with, I think that we did a good job," he said. "There's certainly room for improvement. You see improvement everyday."

As he works toward improvement, as interim superintendent Hopson's salary was $270,000, the same amount paid to his predecessor former legacy Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash.

SCS's seven-member board could decide on a different salary for Hopson now that he's the permanent superintendent.

"I know I've had members in the community concerned about salaries, so I'm not opposed to adjusting the salary down," he said. 'I think we've all got to pull together and we are in a fiscal crisis."

Superintendent Hopson has no idea how long he will hold his new position, but he says as quarterback he hasn't made any touchdowns just yet, but he also says he hasn't been sacked.

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