With a void to fill, Shelby County commissioners made quick work of approving Mauricio Calvo to an interim seat on the Memphis -Shelby County School Board.
“I pledge to be someone to work for accountability, for transparency, for collaboration across ideas and communities,” said Calvo after Monday’s (July 17) vote.
Calvo continued, “I pledge to make every decision with them in mind and I expect the people to hold me accountable to that; even if we don’t agree I agree to work with everybody.”
It was Calvo’s second run at a school board slot. He lost in a general election in 2020. He made a run at a Memphis City Council seat the year before.
His interim-school-board term ends in September 2024.
In addition to electing a new superintendent, his priorities include improving the school system’s fiscal standing.
“It’s extremely important to have a fiscally sound budget. We are facing the end of COVID money and a new formula. It’s also important to have a new leader in place that can improve the economic outcome of every single child in Shelby County Schools.”
A Memphian for 25 years, Calvo currently leads Latino Memphis. The social services organization assists Memphis’ Latino community with health, education, and other basic services.
He also serves on the boards of UnidosUS, Shelby Farms Conservancy, Hope Credit Union and We are Memphis.
A U.S. citizen, Calvo was born in Mexico and is the father of two children in MSCS schools.
Calvo replaces former school board member Sheleah Harris, who resigned in June after the other board members unanimously voted to relax job requirements for superintendent.
The changes allowed interim Superintendent Toni Williams, who lacks classroom experience, to stay in the running for the permanent position. Harris abstained from voting. Later, she claimed the superintendent’s search was manipulated.
Williams has since said she will not seek the superintendent post.
Voting in favor of Calvo were commissioners Brandon Morrison, Shante Avant, Miska Clay-Bibbs, Amber Mills, David Bradford, Mickell Lowery, and Mick Wright.
Another round of voting was avoided after Wright changed his vote from Audrey Elion to give Calvo a majority.
In addition to Calvo, Jada Thornton, Sable Otey and Elion were nominated. Interviews with candidates took place July 12.
“It’s an appointment that’s always tough, because people come with great resumes and also with great recommendations, as well,” said commission chair Mickell Lowery.