One candidate to be the next Memphis City Schools superintendent was in college 14 years ago. Another has three grown children and says he could retire if he wanted to.
Both of them got their shot Monday at answering 22 questions posed by members of the school board and prepared by its search firm. One more finalist will meet the board Tuesday, and the remaining two will be in Memphis next Monday for interviews.
First up was Tiffany Anderson, 36, superintendent of a district in Virginia with 9,500 students. She breezed through the questions in a crisp 66 minutes, taking the allotted three minutes per question. Second up was Kriner Cash, chief of accountability in Miami-Dade County Florida, a district with more than 360,000 students. He emphasized his experience with diverse students and data-driven performance measures.
Memphis has 113,000 students.
The format chosen by the board and its consultants presents each candidate with the same 22 questions. Board member and candidates had not seen the questions until Monday. They included: What steps would you take in the first year? How would you work with the school board? How would you engage the community and partner with business? What about discipline? And closing the achievement gap?
Each candidate also got to ask the board one question. The audience of about 40 people was not allowed to ask questions.
It is not going to be an easy battle for anyone that we select," said board member Patrice Robinson.
-- John Branston