MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The head of the state-run Achievement School District is resigning, Tennessee officials said Wednesday. Her departure comes in the aftermath of a lackluster showing on state test scores.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in a news release that Achievement School District Superintendent Malika Anderson is stepping down at the end of September. Deputy Commissioner Kathleen Airhart will be the interim superintendent.

The district was created by the state to oversee schools in the bottom 5 percent academically. Many of its 32 schools are in Memphis.

The resignation comes after the district’s high school students showed little to no growth in TNReady assessment tests taken at the end of last school year, The Commercial Appeal reported .

Anderson had been with the district since 2012. She became superintendent in 2016.

District spokesman Robert White said Anderson resigned after helping the district through staff restructuring in preparation for a new school improvement plan.

“She personally wanted to provide space for a new leader to take the district forward under this restructure,” White wrote in an email.

Anderson told the newspaper that she may consider another leadership position in a school district or a charter organization next school year.

“The plan really is after September 30th to support some of the work around Tennessee and around the country through consulting work while I recharge,” Anderson said.

A search for her replacement is underway.

Critics of the district, such as state Rep. Antonio Parkinson of Memphis, say control of schools should remain local. Parkinson said in a statement Wednesday that “the next step needs to be determining the effectiveness of the entire district.”

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.