Shelby Co. Mayor Luttrell picks representative for transition team

(WMC-TV) - Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at LeBonheur Cato Johnson has been selected to serve as Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell's special advisor on the transition team for the unified school board.

With the first meeting of the 21-member transition team and the 23-member Shelby County Board of Education this week, work is officially underway on the huge task ahead.

"It's going to be vitally important that these two committees are working together," said Luttrell.

Luttrell said this is the biggest issue of importance at the beginning of the process.

Wednesday's first meeting of the 44 people on both bodies was a start, but Luttrell said it is vital there is a clear plan for all involved.

Luttrell said there are many issues ahead to tackle.

"School zoning, the transportation requirements of the school, there will be some work to be done on curriculum development," said Luttrell.

Luttrell said he believes it is doable if done right.

Johnson said hiring a consultant with experience in these matters will be a must.  Despite the complicated task ahead, he is optimistic.

"It's a process that can lead to us building a superior school system for all the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County," said Johnson.

"We have a tight time frame," said Luttrell.  "We have one year to put this transition plan together, so I think we need to do all the things we can to make sure it has all it needs."

The new Shelby County Board of Education will be sworn in October 3, with a full merger plan due to the state next spring.

Luttrell said these meetings will continue being held every week and more frequently if necessary.

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