When Carolyn Jackson joined the local school system in 2007, it was known as Memphis City Schools. As the district rebrands from Shelby County Schools to Memphis Shelby County Schools (MSCS), Jackson will be putting her leadership stamp on safety and security.
On Monday, MSCS Supt. Dr. Joris M. Ray made what was billed as a “historic appointment” as he named Jackson Interim Chief of Safety and Security.
“As the first African-American woman to serve in this role, it’s an honor to be a part of her historic journey in leadership,” Ray said in the distributed announcement.
“Ms. Jackson is a nationally recognized leader in school safety-based services and training and has been tremendously effective in improving safety measures for employees and schools, including handling emergency response situations.”
Former Chief of Safety and Security Gerald Darling retired on Jan. 31 after serving the district for 13 years. Jackson has been directing safety and security since then.
The backdrop for Jackson’s promotion is an ongoing review – led by former Memphis Police Department Director Toney Armstrong – of the district’s security practices in the wake of one teen shooting another at Cummings K-8 Optional School last year.
According to the release detailing Jackson’s new role, her tenure with the district reflects her influence in “the development, implementation, and oversight of the administrative, technical, and professional security functions.”
Jackson has 40-plus years of law enforcement experience dating back to the Memphis Police Department in 1978.
In 1995, she graduated Cum Laude from LeMoyne-Owen College, earning a bachelor’s degree in business. She is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Academy, and 197th Session in Quantico, Virginia.
In her role as executive director of the district’s Department of Safety and Security, Jackson was responsible for the development of various security technology solutions to include real-time command reporting and the district’s Emergency Management Office.
Overseeing the work of more than 200 employees, Jackson is credited with being instrumental in securing state and federal grants while managing the department’s budget.