Shelby County Schools (Tennessee)

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The Shelby County School District is a public school district headquartered in the Francis E. Coe Administration Building in Memphis, Tennessee. Until July 1, 2013, it served Shelby County, Tennessee, except for the city of Memphis. The district included all of the public schools in Shelby County outside the corporate limits of the city of Memphis, including schools located within the six incorporated towns of Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington. As of July 1, 2013 all Shelby County residents are being served by SCS both inside and outside of Memphis. At the start of the 2014 school year, all six of the incorporated cities (other than Memphis) will be served by separate school districts.[1]


On March 8, 2011, residents voted to disband Memphis City Schools, effectively merging it with the Shelby County School District.[2] The merger took effect effective the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Total enrollment, as of the 2010-2011 school year, is about 47,000 students,[3] making the district the fourth largest in Tennessee.[4] Now that the Memphis/Shelby County merger is completed, it has become, by far, the largest system in the state and one of the larger systems in the country.

In 2011 Sam Dillon of The New York Times concluded that even though there was currently existing inequality between Shelby County Schools and Memphis City Schools, "nobody expects the demographics of schools to change much" as a result of the merger between the districts since "most students in both districts are assigned to neighborhood schools and housing tends to be segregated."[5] There were white families who feared that the merger would provoke additional white flight.[5]


The six suburbs in Shelby County overwhelmingly voted to form their own special school districts, after the state ban was lifted for Shelby County. However, these elections were overthrown in 2012 due to the law lifting the ban being unconstitutional. The law stated that counties with populations over 900,000 can have cities form their own districts. Since Shelby County is the only county in the state meeting that criteria, it was overturned as having been written for a particular group of people and not the whole state. After this, state legislatures lifted the ban statewide and the suburbs once again overwhelmingly voted in favor of municipal schools in July 2013.

Because of this, SCS will stay united through the end of the 2013-2014 school year and split again into 7 districts (barring any other legal decisions); one for Memphis and parts of unincorporated Shelby County as well as for each of the six smaller cities.

Governance and administration[edit]

The district is governed by a seven-member board of education. Board members represent seven special election districts in the Shelby County school district and are elected to four-year terms. Until 1998, board members were appointed by the Shelby County Commission.

The district is led by its 23rd superintendent, John Aitken, who was appointed to the position in 2009 to succeed Bobby Webb. Aitken has been affiliated with the district since 1983, starting as a math teacher at Collierville Middle School. After nine years as a classroom teacher, he became assistant principal and later principal of Houston High School.[6]

Aitken's predecessor, Dr. Bobby G. Webb, was superintendent from January 2002 until 2009. Previously he had spent 14 years as superintendent of public schools in Lauderdale County.[7] He is the only superintendent ever to be recognized twice by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents as Tennessee's Superintendent of the Year, having received that distinction in 1996 and 2001.[citation needed]


All of the "legacy" SCS schools in the school district are accredited. These particular schools meet the standards of the Tennessee State Department of Education and the accreditation standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The legacy Shelby County School District was the first large district in Tennessee to be accredited in its entirety by SACS.[4]

List of schools prior to July 2013[edit]

The list of schools is of the former SCS district schools, and is therefore incomplete.

Elementary Schools[edit]

  • Altruria Elementary School (Bartlett)
  • Arlington Elementary School (Arlington)
  • Bailey Station Elementary School (Collierville/Collierville Annexation Reserve)
  • Barret's Elementary School (Unincorporated/Millington-Bartlett-Lakeland-Arlington Annexation Reserves)
  • Bartlett Elementary School (Bartlett)
  • Bon Lin Elementary School (Bartlett/Bartlett Annexation Reserve)
  • Collierville Elementary School (Collierville)
  • Crosswind Elementary School (Collierville)
  • Dexter Elementary School (Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Dogwood Elementary School (Germantown/Small Part of Western Collierville)
  • Donelson Elementary School (Arlington/Lakeland)
  • Ellendale Elementary School (Bartlett/Bartlett Annexation Reserve)
  • Farmington Elementary School (Germantown/Extreme NW Collierville)
  • Germantown Elementary School (Germantown)
  • E. A. Harrold Elementary School (Millington/Millington Annexation Reserve)
  • Highland Oaks Primary School (K-1, Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Highland Oaks Elementary School (2-5, Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • E. E. Jeter Elementary School (Unincorporated/Millington Annexation Reserve)
  • Lakeland Elementary School (Lakeland)
  • Lucy Elementary School (Millington/Millington Annexation Reserve)
  • Macon-Hall Elementary School (Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Millington Elementary School (Millington)
  • Northaven Elementary School (Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Oak Elementary School (Bartlett)
  • Rivercrest Elementary School (Bartlett/Bartlett Annexation Reserve)
  • Southwind Elementary School (Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Sycamore Elementary School (Collierville/Collierville Annexation Reserve)
  • Tara Oaks Elementary School (Collierville/Collierville Annexation Reserve)

Secondary schools[edit]

Middle schools[edit]

  • Appling Middle School (Bartlett)
  • Arlington Middle School (Arlington/Unincorporated)
  • Bon Lin Middle School (Bartlett/West Part of Lakeland)
  • Colonial Middle School (Memphis)
  • Collierville Middle School[8] (Collierville/Collierville Annexation Reserve)
  • Dexter Middle School (Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Elmore Park Middle School (Bartlett)
  • Germantown Middle School (Germantown)
  • Highland Oaks Middle School (Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Houston Middle School (Germantown/West Part of Collierville)
  • Millington Middle School (Millington/Millington Annexation Reserve)
  • Mt. Pisgah Middle School (Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Schilling Farms Middle School (Collierville/Collierville Annexation Reserve)
  • Shadowlawn Middle School (Bartlett/Bartlett-Memphis Annexation Reserve)
  • Woodstock Middle School (Millington/Unincorporated)

K-8 schools[edit]

  • Riverdale School (Germantown)
  • Lowrance Elementary School (Memphis)

High schools[edit]

Note: Some areas within the Shelby County Schools coverage area were zoned to Memphis City Schools' Cordova High School (located in an unincorporated area and operated by Memphis City Schools) while being zoned to Shelby County Schools' elementary and middle schools.

Former schools[edit]

Secondary schools[edit]

High schools[edit]

  • Cordova High School - (The school was placed into the Memphis City Schools system in fall 2004) - Cordova High School serves some areas within the Shelby County Schools area that are zoned to Shelby County Schools-operated schools for elementary and middle school.
  • Kirby High School - Hickory Hill was annexed by the City of Memphis in December, 1998, thus placing the school in the Memphis City Schools system in fall 1999. Kirby primarily serves the southeast area of Memphis going to the current city-unincorporated county boundary line. Outside of this boundary, all schools are zoned to the Shelby County Schools.
  • Raleigh-Egypt High School - Annexed with Raleigh in the 1970s. Serves the west and northwest area of Raleigh.

Middle schools[edit]

  • Kirby Middle School (Memphis, Tennessee)
  • Raleigh-Egypt Middle School (Memphis, Tennessee) - Annexed with Raleigh in the 1970s.

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Brownsville Road Elementary
  • Capleville Elementary - Former elementary school on Shelby Drive, building vacant, but still owned by Shelby County Schools. Building destroyed by fire in 2009.
  • Egypt Elementary - Annexed with Raleigh in the 1970s.
  • Kate Bond Elementary School - (Kate Bond was placed into the Memphis City Schools system in fall 2004)
  • Millington East Elementary School (Merged with Millington South)
  • Millington South Elementary School (Merged with Millington East)
  • Ross Elementary
  • Winchester Elementary - Annexed with Whitehaven in the 1970s.

School uniforms[edit]

For the 2013-2014 school year, the district will preserve dress codes in its schools, with schools having uniforms having to continue the uniform programs, while schools without uniforms will remain without uniforms.[13]

Other facilities[edit]

Shelby County Schools is headquartered in Memphis.[14] The Francis E. Coe Administration Building,[15][16] the headquarters facility, was shared between the current pre-merger Shelby County Schools and Memphis City Schools. The building has two wings, and one had been used for each pre-merger district. As of 2013 the corridor linking the wings had a double-locked doors, and the glass panels had been covered by particle boards. Irving Hamer, the deputy superintendent of Memphis City Schools, described the barrier as "our Berlin Wall."[5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Coverage of the School Merger News for Memphis, TN from The Commercial Appeal Archived February 22, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ McMillin, Zack (8 March 2011). "Memphis voters OK school charter surrender". The Commercial Appeal. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Campbell Robertson,and total of 885 full time staff and employees Memphis to Vote on Transferring School System to County, The New York Times, January 27, 2011[dead link]
  4. ^ a b District Information, Shelby County Schools website, accessed January 27, 2011 Archived July 12, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c Dillon, Sam. "Merger of Memphis and County School Districts Revives Race and Class Challenges." The New York Times. November 5, 2011. Retrieved on June 3, 2013.[dead link]
  6. ^ John Aitken, Superintendent of Shelby County Schools, Shelby County Schools website, accessed January 27, 2011 Archived September 11, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Superintendent Webb to Retire from Shelby County Schools". WHBQ. February 26, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  8. ^ Archived November 22, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Archived December 11, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Houston High School Archived October 31, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ MCHS Website has moved Archived April 6, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Southwind High School Archived September 6, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Chen, Natasha. "Shelby County Schools Keep Existing Uniform Policy." (Archive) WREG-TV. May 28, 2013. Retrieved on June 3, 2013.
  14. ^ "1b.jpg." Shelby County Schools. Retrieved on July 15, 2011. "160 S. Hollywood St. Memphis, TN 38112" Archived September 22, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Contact Us." Memphis City Schools. Retrieved on July 2, 2013. "Memphis City Schools 2597 Avery Avenue Memphis, TN 38112" Archived June 14, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Board of Commissioners." Memphis City Schools. Retrieved on July 2, 2013. "[...]the Francis E. Coe Administration Building, 2597 Avery Avenue." Archived March 3, 2013 at the Wayback Machine