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Leader of KIPP Memphis charter schools announces departure, replacement

Jamal McCall
Jamal McCall

Jamal McCall, executive director of KIPP charter schools in Memphis, announced Friday he will leave his position at the end of the school year to start his own consulting company to handle business operations for charter, parochial and public schools.

He will be replaced by Kelly Wright, 40, chief program officer for the KIPP Foundation and a former KIPP principal in San Diego.

Also joining KIPP’s Memphis leadership team will be Terence Johnson, 53, a former public school leader in Houston and Denver who is leaving his KIPP position in leadership development to serve as chief of schools.

KIPP: Memphis Collegiate Schools operates seven schools with 1,700 students, with plans to open another school this summer and two more by 2017, with a total target enrollment of 4,000 students when the schools are fully grown.

Jamal McCall
Jamal McCall

McCall, 37, a former turnaround principal and the director of KIPP Columbus schools, took the helm of KIPP Memphis in 2008 when the national nonprofit charter network had just one school in Memphis with 400 students. During his tenure, the city’s educational landscape underwent major changes as Memphis City Schools merged with Shelby County Schools, six suburban municipalities opened their own school systems, and the state began taking over low-performing schools in Memphis and transitioning them mostly to charter schools.

“I am proud of the incredible things we have been able to achieve together during this time and I look forward to seeing our network continue to grow in this next chapter,” McCall said in a letter to his staff.

Founded in 1995, KIPP’s national network includes 162 public charter schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia serving 59,000 students. The KIPP Foundation is based in San Francisco.

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