Community advocates reply to infidelity allegations towards MSCS Superintendent Joris Ray

FOX13 continues to investigate allegations that have surfaced involving Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray, concern.

Based on his wife’s divorce papers, the district head is accused of having been involved in extramarital affairs. Several concerned residents and local education advocates shared their perspectives with FOX13.

“Children watch him. That’s my only concern,” said Renee Smith of the Memphis Lift educational association.

In a recent statement, MSCS announced it was launching an investigation into allegations of inappropriateness.

MORE: MSCS school board launches investigation into Superintendent Joris Ray

“I don’t think we should lose focus. Our kids are still failing, and as he said, he’s got personal things going on; He needs to step down and let someone who can give our kids their full and undivided attention,” Smith said.

Much of the conversation with local education leaders highlighted curriculum issues and concerns under Ray’s leadership.

“Our averages as a district are below the state average during the pandemic,” said Memphis Lift co-chief of staff Ashlynn Sparks. “14 percent of low-income students are considered fluent in English and only 5 percent in math; this is absolutely awful.”

Prior to these developments, members of Memphis Lift held a press conference at MSCS headquarters calling for Ray’s resignation from the post of superintendent.

“The federal government just invested over $500 million in your company and you have only 5 percent growth. Is that a return on your investment?” asked Memphis Lift Co-Chief of Staff Dianechia Fields.

During the investigation, some education advocates challenged the board and expressed concern about the district leader remaining in office during the review.

“The board needs to explain this to the community,” said Sarah Carpenter, executive director of Memphis Lift. “Why is he allowed to stay at work during an investigation? These are comments from parents to us.”

The story goes on

Meanwhile, despite recent infidelity allegations, not everyone who spoke out today agrees with the notion that the superintendent may have violated his role.

“His extramarital affair is between him and God, and I stand by that,” Memphis resident AD Jones told FOX13. “Why are we minding his business and trying to take the children’s poor curriculum onto his business?”

FOX13 checked the MSCS employee handbook to see if Ray had committed a violation. The handbook states that employees who form a relationship with a colleague must report the relationship to Human Resources.

We also reached out to the district to find out if Ray has reported any relationships but hasn’t received a response yet.

MSCS CEO Michelle McKissack said the board intends to seek independent counsel in the next few days to conduct a review of the allegations.

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