Joris M. Ray
Published August 17, 2020

Joris M. Ray is the superintendent of Shelby County Schools in Tennessee and an expert in K-12 education.

Ray grew up in Memphis and attended Shelby County Schools, graduating from Whitehaven High School. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Memphis. 

As superintendent, Ray has focused on combating education inequality with efforts including providing digital devices and Internet access for every student, the third grade commitment to improve reading skills, promotion of African American male empowerment, and the alternative education program.

Ray worked for the district for more than 23 years as a teacher, principal and several other administrative roles before he was unanimously elected to serve as superintendent by the Shelby County School Board in April 2019.

Shelby County Schools is the largest district in Tennessee and one of the 25 largest in the United States. It operates more than 200 schools educating more than 100,000 students with a $1.5 billion annual budget.

Location: Memphis, Tenn.

Expertise: K-12 education, educational leadership and policy studies, school operations and reopening schools during the coronavirus

Email: or 

Phone: 901-416-5623

Twitter: @SCSSuptRay

Listen to Joris M. Ray on WBUR’s On Point:

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