New Superintendent says team is ready to work
By Othor Cain
In what he hopes to become a weekly session with reporters, Dr. Cedric Gray, newly installed chief of schools for the Jackson Public Schools District (JPS), held a press conference with reporters Monday, July 2, to give insight to his first day on the job and what students, parents, the media, community and others can expect from him and his administration. “I want you to understand where I am, what you can expect, what I will and won’t do,” an energetic Gray said.
Normally the Fourth of July week is a week off for most administrators in the district. Not this year. Administrators, district leaders and other staff personnel via approval of the board of trustees are meeting with Gray this week to access the district and develop a game plan for the new school year. “We’ve got to hit the ground running,” Gray said and these series of meetings have been a way of getting to know each other,” Gray said. “What I found on my first day were people who are literally ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.”
“I didn’t find anybody dejected. I didn’t find anybody ostracized,” Gray said. “If the largest employer in the city is successful, then every other entity in the city…can be successful.”
Gray noted that the district is Gray noted that the district is working within tight budget constraints and every effort is being made to deliver the best services possible within the budget.
“One thing you can expect from me is that I will never lie to you or give you information that I don’t have,” he said. “Fact is our budget is tight, given the state of the economy, but we are working.”
Gray noted that no immediate changes were being made to staff and personnel. “We have experienced some retirements, and I think that is natural with any new administration,” he said. “We are accessing everyone and every position.”
Joining Gray’s administration in Jackson from the Fayette County School District in Tennessee will be a deputy superintendent of academics, an executive director of finance, an executive director of middle schools and a chief communications officer.
Gray did not formally introduce the names and salaries of these individuals saying, “The board had not official signed their contracts.”
However, Darryl Anderson introduced himself as the new communications chief, and he assisted Gray with the press conference.
Anderson is the former chief information officer for the city of Memphis.