The Tennessee Department of Education official who was overseeing the rollout of the state’s new voucher program will soon work for a man who adamantly opposes it.
This week Shelby County School Superintendent Joris Ray announced he hired TDOE Deputy Commissioner Amity Schuyler as his new chief of strategy and innovation.
As The Tennessee Star reported in January, Schuyler oversaw Gov. Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account program in its first year.
Ray, on his Twitter page last year, said he opposes vouchers and said they are “an unfortunate roadblock.”
In a press release this week, Ray said the following:
“I consider Amity to be a steal. As we reaffirm our opposition to vouchers and champion public education, we know that Amity’s proven work for Governor Bill Lee and the TDOE has allowed her to develop key strategies and cultivate partnerships with stakeholders.”
TDOE officials, in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star, said Schuyler “has done a yeoman’s job to plan and launch the Education Savings Account program.”
“We are so glad that Tennessee will be keeping her talents in state,” according to the statement, from the TDOE official who did not identify him or herself.
Shaka Mitchell, Tennessee director for the American Federation for Children, said this in an emailed statement:
“While the TDOE is losing a very capable leader in Amity, the pieces are in place to ensure the ESA rollout is unaffected,” Mitchell said.
“Amity did a good job of working on the rules and procedures and now the Department, along with other stakeholders like AFC, are in full implementation mode. To date, thousands of parents have expressed interest in the program and the number grows daily.”
According to Schuyler’s LinkedIn page, she started working for the TDOE in May of last year and previously worked for the Palm Beach County School District in Florida.
Schuyler, on her LinkedIn page, described her as “a skilled leader with [a] social justice lens.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Jerica Phillips” by Jerica Phillips. Photo “Kenneth M. Walker II” by Shelby County Schools. Photo “Amity Schuyler” by Amity Schuyler.