• 66°

Trustees praise superintendent for service

A new board member was sworn in and plans were made to find anew superintendent for the Brookhaven School District at Tuesday’smeeting of the board of trustees.

Carl Holloway, who worked in the district for 27 years, took anoath to uphold the laws as he serves as a member of the board oftrustees, replacing Gwendolyn Sartin, who retired recently after 15years on the board.

“We are very honored to have him join us. We feel his pastexperience in our school district will be an asset,” said Dr.Prentiss Smith, adding that Holloway had big shoes to fill.

The short ceremony was followed by the reorganization of theboard, with Dr. Smith to serve as chairman, Dan Brown asvice-chairman and Carl Aycock as secretary. Karen Braden is theother board member.

Discussion began immediately on the most pressing topic of themonth, the replacement of Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds, whoannounced his plans to take another job two weeks ago.

“On behalf of the school board, we were all disappointed tolearn Dr. Bounds would be leaving our school district,” said Smith,leading the discussion.

Smith praised Bounds for his countless contributions to thedistrict during his 10-year tenure.

He thanked Bounds for the new school buildings and renovations,numerous new programs, improvements in school safety, involvementin Mississippi School of the Arts and “his development of thefinest group of teachers and administrators in the state, if notthe South.”

Smith said Bounds made recommendations to the school board withthe “best interest of students in mind,” always making sure actionswere legal and within budget.

“It certainly has made our jobs easier,” he said.

The board plans to hire a consulting firm to head up the searchfor Bounds’ replacement.

“We feel that would give us an opportunity to find the bestapplicants from all over,” said Smith. “Our hope is to move asquickly as possible and, hopefully, have someone here by the end ofMay, if it is feasible.”

Bounds is leaving the district on June 30 to serve as executivedirector of the Mississippi Association of SchoolSuperintendents.

In other discussion, the board heard from Dr. Vicki Bodenhamer,executive director of Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA).

“I’d like to thank the board and Dr. Bounds for a wonderfulfirst school year,” she said. “We have had real success with ourstudents.”

In her quarterly update to the board, Bodenhamer mentioned MSAand BHS gearing up for more students next year. She expects to havea total of 140 students, juniors and seniors. The students willreside and study arts at MSA, while taking other classes atBHS.

Bodenhamer said the future of the school, however, is stilluncertain as legislators continue to look at cutting the state’seducation budget. She does not believe the school will close.

“What we may be looking at is a skeletal crew. I may have toteach all day and run the school,” she said. “I do not in goodfaith possibly see how anyone could close the school.”

In anticipation that the school will continue as scheduled, MSAwill have a weekend of celebration and appreciation on May 1 and 2.Parents and the public are invited to tour the campus and enjoyperformances. The Mississippi Symphony will perform a free concertat 3 p.m., May 2, at BHS.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the school board approved the2004-2005 calendar, which shows classes beginning on Aug. 4.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., April 27.