Interim superintendent Ward stepping down - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Interim superintendent Ward stepping down

Memphis City Schools Interim Superintendent Dan Ward will officially step down on June 10, about one month after his contract expires.

Ward sent letters to school board members Friday afternoon informing them of his decision, but the letter did not give a reason for that decision.

Ward came out of retirement in August to fill in while the board searched for a permanent superintendent.

School board member Dr. Jeff Warren is impressed the 74-year-old interim superintendent had the stamina to fill the seat for as long as he did.

"It's been my understanding he's concerned about some family health issues and is looking to power down and phase out," said Warren.

However, some school board members speculate that a turbulent school year that included school shootings and disciplinary problems may be partially behind Ward's decision to step down.

"Now is as good a time as any for Mr. Ward to step down. I'm a little disappointed in performance, think he got in over his head as far as what would be required," said school board member Dr. Kenneth Whalum.

The announcement comes on the heels of two superintendent candidates dropping out of the running. The final superintendent candidate meets with the Memphis City School Board tomorrow.

Board member Martavius Jones says Ward's departure will not change anything when it comes to the superintendent search.

But Whalum believes Ward's departure will force the board to accelerate the decision-making process.

"Hope the board will finally get an intense sense of urgency about the situation of Memphis City Schools," said Whalum.

The board plans to have a new superintendent in place by July 1.

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