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Board names Tillman acting superintendent

The Brookhaven School District’s board of trustees appointeddeputy superintendent James Tillman as the acting superintendentTuesday until the position is filled permanently.

The superintendent position will be left open beginning in Julywhen Dr. Sam Bounds leaves to become executive director of theMississippi Association of Superintendents. Bounds has served asthe district’s superintendent for 10 years.

Tillman, who was recently promoted to deputy superintendent fromassistant superintendent, was excited about the appointment made atthe monthly meeting of the board of trustees.

“I would like to express my gratitude toward the board for thefaith they have placed in me,” he said. “I look forward to workingwith the board on another level as I assume these newresponsibilities.”

The board hired a search firm to assist in finding a newsuperintendent. They expect to make a decision in September orOctober.

“We are fortunate that our Brookhaven School District is ingreat shape and we have no significant issues pending, so thingsshould run smoothly until then,” said board chairman Dr. PrentissSmith.

In Bounds’ last official board meeting, he was praised for his”dedicated” service to the Brookhaven School District.

Smith spoke on behalf of the board about what Bounds meant tothe district. He complimented Bounds’ ability to see a problem andfind a solution.

Bounds would “take the bull by the horns no matter how big thebull is” in order to overcome a problem, Smith said.

He also mentioned Bounds’ ability to find funding for thedistrict from various sources, allowing the district to improve itsservices.

“The Brookhaven School District would not be where it is todaywithout the hard work and dedication of Dr. Bounds,” he said. “Dr.Bounds will be greatly missed.”

Board member Dan Brown added his appreciation to Bounds for thesmooth transition expected because of Bounds’ efforts.

“Not only have you done a good job, but you’re leaving us ingood hands with our personnel,” said Brown.

Bounds thanked the board and stressed the importance of workingwith a good board of trustees to make the school districtstrong.

“It’s wonderful to work for bosses who put the kids first,” hesaid, adding that the last 10 years were the most rewarding of his34-year career in education.

In other business, the board accepted a bid on the BrookhavenHigh School track project.

The bid for renovating and resurfacing the track was for$78,000, which will be paid by the R.L. Therrel Track TrustFund.

“There will be no cost at all to taxpayers,” said Bounds, beforeboard members accepted the bid.

Dr. Vicki Bodenhamer, executive director of the MississippiSchool of the Arts (MSA), gave the board an update on the status ofthe arts school.

She reported that 71 new students are expected to attend thisfall as the junior class. Bodenhamer looked forward to another yearof working with the Brookhaven School District to offer classes andextracurricular activities to the MSA students.

“We appreciate all the support that has come from the schooldistrict, this community and the parents,” she said. “Most of all,I appreciate your care for our students. They really feel at homehere.”

She briefly mentioned the possibility of the school districtoverseeing MSA’s finances, with MSA still being considered aseparate entity. Further discussion with the State Board ofEducation was expected before a decision could be made.

Bodenhamer said the change would make it easier to manage theschool’s finances.