School board reacts to Dr. Aiken's resignation - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

School board reacts to Dr. Aiken's resignation

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The Shelby County School Board is reacting now that Superintendent Dr. John Aitken is off the job.

Dr. Aitken had been with the school system for 30 years when he asked that the school board buy out his contract, which was not set to expire until 2015.

"It's time for me to step back and re-evaluate some things for me personally and I appreciate the board giving me that opportunity," Aitken said after the school board voted to allow him out of his contract.

Aitken says it was strictly his decision.

The school board voiced appreciation for his service and melancholy over his decision, though some argue it may be their own fault.

School board member Kenneth Whalum wonders if the full-blown superintendent search that is already underway nationwide is what drove Dr. Aitken away.

"It's always been a ludicrous waste of time and money," he said. "To me it was weird that we were even talking about the issue of selecting a new superintendent when Dr. Aitken was right at the table."

But Aitken says even if the board had not opened up the application process, even if it had completely forgone a nationwide search, he would have likely stepped down Tuesday night anyway.

"I think that's water under the bridge," said Aitken. "It's time to move on. I think probably just close one chapter."

He continued, "It's been a tough process. I'm going to tell y'all, this is hard work. The last two years have been grinding."

It is a grind that will only get grittier with a transition in full swing without a permanent superintendent in place.

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