Past Superintendent, Collierville Schools
Collierville resident and respected educational leader John S. Aitken was named Superintendent of the newly formed Collierville Schools, by unanimous vote of the Collierville School Board in December 2013. The appointment came following several months of work as consultant for the Town of Collierville and other municipalities striving to establish individual school systems.
Mr. Aitken retired from Shelby County Schools as Superintendent in March 2013, after serving in that capacity since 2009. Previously, he served as Shelby County Schools’ Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Leadership & Safety.
Originally from West Helena AR, he has called Collierville “home” since 1983. Known to many as ‘Mr. A,’ he and his wife Jody, are parents to three children: Bruce, Shea, and Hallie, and two grandchildren- Swayze and Truett. His mother, Julia, also lives in Collierville.
Mr. Aitken earned a BSE degree in Math from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR and received a Master’s Degree in Education and Administration Supervision from the University of Memphis. His career as an Educator in Tennessee began in 1983, as an Advanced Math and Geometry teacher at Collierville high School. After nine years in the classroom, he entered school administration as Assistant Principal at Houston High School and was named Principal of Houston High in 1997. His 11-year tenure at Houston High elevated the school to premier status for academics, athletics and fine arts in Tennessee.
During his career, he has been recognized with several awards, including Administrator of the Year by the Tennessee Association of Student Councils (TASC) and statewide PTSA as Tennessee’s Principal of the Year in 2008. He was also named School System Administrator of the Year by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) in 2008-09 and twice received the A.F. Bridges Principal of the Year honor from the TSSAA (1998-99 & 2005-06). As Superintendent of Shelby County Schools, he led SCS to consecutive State Report Cards with all A’s in Academic Achievement for three years and was credited with leading SCS in becoming Tennessee’s largest school system recommended for District Accreditation in 2011-12. In April of 2012, Aitken was recognized by the Tennessee PTA as the state’s Outstanding Superintendent of the Year. The same year, he was presented with PTA’s National Achievement Award.
In addition to his exemplary, ongoing service as Superintendent of Collierville Schools, Mr. Aitken currently serves as President of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Collierville and attends Collierville United Methodist Church. The title that brings him the most joy however, is the one given to him by his three-year-old twin grandchildren: “Big”.