One important question people relocating to a new area are confronted with is how to choose the right school for their child. And with so many educational choices here in Memphis, the prospect can seem daunting. But it’s one of those good problems. There are many excellent private, public, parochial, charter, optional and adult schools available to residents.

The Memphis metro area has 18 public school districts, 100 private schools, and more than 250,000 students. Memphis area schools annually attract national recognition and honors for the innovative programs and academic excellence provided to students of all ages.

Many of Memphis’ and America’s greats were products of the Memphis City School system, including entertainers such as Isaac Hayes, Kathy Bates, and Elvis Presley and entrepreneurs such as Avron B. Fogelman and Abe Plough.

For a list of Memphis-area colleges, universities, and technical schools, click here.

To find educational institutions and programs specific to the transportation and logistics industry, click here.


160 S. Hollywood | 901.321.2500 |


Shelby County's Unified School District teaches over 140,000 students in 250 schools. It is the largest school district in the State of Tennessee and 22nd largest in the United States according the National Center for Education Statistics. The district offers a wide variety of curricula that includes music, arts, foreign language, university dual-enrollment programs, skills training and advanced placement courses for college credit. For more information on SCS, please click here

Optional Programs

Shelby County Schools' optional program gives parents choices in selecting a public education that can best fit their children’s talents and abilities. Optional elementary programs focus on different approaches to education. These programs enrich, supplement, and broaden the standard school curriculum. Optional programs at the middle school and high school levels are designed to prepare students for college and careers. Optional schools are tuition-free and accessible to residents from all parts of the county.

There are two types of schools in the county’s optional program. Most programs exist as a school-within-a-school for all grade levels, which means the optional program is offered in addition to traditional classes or programs. However, 14 schools exist exclusively as optional schools: All students who attend these schools participate in the optional program. Call the Division of Optional Schools and Advanced Academics at 901-416-5830 for more information on the program or click here.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are independent public schools of choice. They control their own budget, curriculum, and staffing. Memphis’ charter schools maximize students’ potential by focusing on specific areas of academic interests and employing creative learning techniques. Charter programs prepare children for college by learning how to function productively in a global and technologically advanced society.

Memphis' Achievement School District

901.416.3119 |
The Achievement School District (ASD) is a statewide program aimed at catapulting the least performing schools in Tennessee to the top 25% in the state.  The ASD is an independent school district that works hand-in-hand with Shelby County Schools and local charter schools to manage existing schools. Currently, ASD manages two schools and works with four charter school operators to oversee the the daily operations of four more schools within the district: Aspire Public Schools, Capstone Education Group, KIPP: Memphis Collegiate Schools and Gestalt Community Schools. During the 2013-2014 school year, the ASD will manage six schools. In the fall of 2014, seven more schools will be added to the district. For more information on the Achievement School District, click here.  


The cities of Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington in Shelby County recently formed school districts for students living in their municipal borders. The districts are slated to begin in the fall of 2014 and will serve approximately 32,500 students that live within their jurisdiction. Information on the schools and curriculum will be posted as soon it becomes available.

More information on public schools

Information on school performance, check out the school and district report cards with data on student-teacher ratios and testing outcomes here
Click here for a list of all public schools with contact information in the City of Memphis and Shelby County. 


There are more than 35 SACS-accredited private and parochial schools in the Memphis area. These schools have a combined enrollment of over 15,000. Covering pre-school through high school education, they offer a range of programs for all kinds of learning styles, many featuring alternative teaching methods. All stress outstanding academic standards.

More information on private schools

Click here for a list of all private schools with contact information in the City of Memphis and Shelby County.

Catholic Diocese of Memphis
National Center for Education Statistics
Shelby County Schools
Tennessee Department of Education

Page Updated November 2013

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