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VOL. 129 | NO. 122 | Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hopson's Contract Extended Through June 2018

By Bill Dries

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Dorsey Hopson’s contract as Shelby County Schools superintendent runs through June of 2018 after the school board approved Monday, June 23, a two-year extension of the original three year employment contract with him.

The school board vote came at the end of a special meeting called for Monday to approve the contract extension before the 45 day period before a school board election in which state law bars such a contract from being approved.

The board vote was 6-0 with school board member David Pickler absent.

School board members said they believed it was important to retain Hopson as the school system pursues ambitious goals in improving student achievement including moving from a quarter of third graders reading at grade level to all third graders reading at grade level. Hopson and the school board have also set a goal of having 80 percent of last year’s first graders ready for college or career by the time they prepare to graduate in 2025.

The school board evaluations of Hopson’s performance across seven categories and 20 general questions about performance were “extremely strong,” according to Henry Evans of the Centre Group, the human resources consulting firm hired to coordinate the evaluation.

In five of the seven categories, Hopson was rated by the board as performing “above expectations.”

Areas of concern for the board were in filling positions in his cabinet, notably the position of Chief Academic Officer, technology improvements, staff development and the timely presentation of proposals.

But some board members said their concerns in those areas were a reflection of the rapid changes in public education that continue with Hopson becoming superintendent just a few months before the opening of the only school year of the merged countywide school system and the coming school year in which Shelby County will have seven public school systems.

Five of the six suburban school systems to debut in August are being led by educators who were once part of Shelby County Schools and in some cases were in the upper ranks of the school system.

Hopson’s base pay remains the same at $269,000 a year.

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