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New administrators join Miss. School of the Arts

The floor of Lampton Auditorium is slowly disappearing as newadministrative leaders of the Mississippi School of the Arts joinother staff members in the historic facility.

“We don’t have a complete maze yet,” joked David Smith, MSA’sDirector of Student Services, about space being taken up with desksand other materials.

Smith and Director of Academics Kim Wand began their new dutiesMonday. Theirs are the fourth and fifth positions to be filled atthe school on the Whitworth College campus.

Smith comes to the arts school after having served in a similarposition at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“There are a lot of the same duties here, yet it’s juniors andseniors on the high school level instead of freshmen and sophomoresat college,” Smith said.

Smith will be responsible directly or indirectly for residencelife, dorm supervisors, resident assistants, cafeteria services,student activities and other aspects of student life. He said thejob sounds a bit overwhelming now, but he is looking forward to thechallenge.

“This is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor ofsomething that has tremendous possibilities,” Smith said of thearts school.

Wand, currently living in Brandon, joins the MSA staff after thelast eight years in the Rankin County School District, where shetaught music and gifted programs and was middle and high schoolcurriculum specialist. She has lived in Mississippi over 30 yearsand has been involved in the education field for more than 19years.

Wand and her husband Mike are looking forward to getting a homein Brookhaven, she said. Mike Wand’s uncle is Clifford Wand, whoused to operate Wand’s Feed and Seed Store.

Like Smith, Wand is excited to involved a “wonderfulopportunity” to help create a school from the ground up.

“That very rarely happens,” Wand said.

As director of academics, Wand will coordinate all academicprograms; provide leadership in relation to curriculum, instructionand assessment; recruitment, hiring and supervision of faculty andstaff; monitor student progress; develop school policies, systemsof operations and publications; budget management and coordinatewith the director of student services.

Wand and Smith said the arts school will be approached more likea college than as a high school. With that, it was important tofill the student services and academics director positions at thesame time, school officials said.

“We’re involved in every aspect of the students’ lives,” Wandsaid.

Smith praised MSA Executive Director Dr. Vicki Bodenhamer insetting goals and establishing a positive direction for theschool.

“We’re going to take that and run with it,” Smith said.

One of Wand’s first tasks will be developing admissions criteriaand a student handbook. That will go along with the hiring of adirector of admissions and recruiting.

“We’ve got to develop a tool to determine how we’re going toevaluate students’ abilities across the state,” Wand said.

In Smith’s area, the next position to be filled will be directorof school safety. That person’s duties will include transportation,buildings and grounds and security.

Jennifer Jackson, MSA director of marketing, said the school isin the interview process to fill the newest positions.

“We hope to have those soon,” Jackson said.