Memphis school board selects interim superintendent

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis education officials have picked an interim superintendent after nearly two months of debate over who should take the post.

The Memphis Board of Education voted 8-0 for retired local educator Dan Ward over Floridian Robert Schiller at a Tuesday night meeting.

The board hopes Ward will be in his new position by the end of this month. Ward, 73, has spent more than 35 years with the city school district, serving as teacher, principal and district superintendent.

He also served as deputy superintendent from 2004 to 2005, helping departing Superintendent Carol Johnson after she moved to Memphis from Minneapolis.

"Memphis City Schools is in crisis-management on a daily basis. We need to have someone here who can handle a crisis," said board president Patrice Robinson.

Ward's salary has yet to be settled, but the board believes it will be a yearly amount between $150,000 and $185,000.

His contract will be for six months, with the possibility of three-month extensions.

The salary will be prorated over time served.

Tuesday's vote came after a lengthy process that saw the board hold 10 meetings to debate who would be Johnson's temporary successor.

Schiller has been a district superintendent in New Jersey and Louisiana and a state superintendent in Michigan and Illinois. Johnson has been named superintendent of Boston schools.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)