Bounds to exit as school superintendent

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 15, 2004

Sam Bounds, superintendent of the Brookhaven School District,has announced his intentions to leave the post for another job.

Bounds will be the new executive director of the MississippiAssociation of School Superintendents, he said. His last day on theBrookhaven job will be June 30.

Bounds has 34 years service in public education, with 28 ofthose in Mississippi.

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Although he admitted a great love for his current job, Boundssaid he could not pass up the opportunity to realize a longtimedream.

“It has been an honor to be superintendent here; it really hasbeen,” he said. “I’m not leaving Brookhaven for any other reasonthan I’ve obtained a life-long goal.”

Bounds will continue working to improve public education inMississippi in his new position. He will oversee an associationrepresenting all 148 public school superintendents and an alliancegroup made up of all other administrators in the state.

“We try to be a voice for public education. We work with thelegislature,” he said of the association.

Bounds accepted the position Wednesday when he was unanimouslyapproved by the association’s board of directors, consisting of 20members, of which 16 were present for the meeting.

“I was very pleased it was a unanimous vote. That’s an honor,and it’s flattering,” he said.

Bounds has been a member of the association’s board of directorsfor seven years.

“It’s a great group of ladies and gentlemen, and I am honored torepresent them,” he said.

Those who have worked with Bounds during his 10-year tenure inthe Brookhaven School District had similar things to say abouthim.

“The time that I’ve shared with him I’ve certainly enjoyed,”said school board trustee Dan Brown Jr. “I think he was a greatsuperintendent, and I think he brought a lot of improvement to thedistrict.”

Brown touted the first bond issue passed for the district, whichBounds spearheaded.

Board member Carl Aycock mentioned the vast improvement in thediscipline of students since Bounds introduced a zero tolerancepolicy.

“That is his biggest achievement,” said Aycock. “Our disciplineproblems have gone down significantly.”

Bounds says his commitment to the Brookhaven School District forthe past decade coincides with with best years of his career.

“The 10 years I’ve spent in Brookhaven have been the mostfulfilling,” he said. “God has richly blessed me. He has been sogracious in His blessings, and He’s brought some wonderful thingsmy way.

“He’s used me for whatever success, whatever good is out there,”said a tearful Bounds.

Bounds’ announcement to the school board on Thursday andadministrators on Friday was also an emotional encounter, hesaid.

He called the district’s administrators “some of the finest inthe state” and complimented the dedication of the school board.

“I just cannot praise the board enough for being strong andsticking together to make decisions to set the directions of thisdistrict, and for basing those decisions on what is best for thestudents,” said Bounds.

Bounds said he is pleased with where the district is now.

“The administrators, the teachers, the school board, thecommunity, we’ve all worked together, and that’s they key tosuccess,” he said.

Board member Karen Braden complimented Bounds’ work in thedistrict.

“I think he’s leaving the district in great shape,” shesaid.

Bounds said he and his wife, Dr. Melanie Bounds, will eventuallymove to the Jackson area. She serves as the director of specialeducation at the Mississippi Department of Education.

The Brookhaven school board, which meets at 6 p.m., March 23,will begin looking for a new superintendent immediately. Aycocksaid the board will either seek applicants or hire a firm to seekapplicants.