New principal at Bogue Chitto is ‘impressed’

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Bogue Chitto Attendance Center students celebrated a recentsuccess Monday, and new Principal Bill McGehee hopes to have manymore happy occasions as he begins his first year as the school’sleader.

As students eagerly awaited bus trips home Monday afternoon,McGehee reflected on his day and discussed his plans for thefuture. One success he touted was that 100 percent of seniorspassed the U.S. history subject area test last year as juniors.

“That speaks highly, and we applauded that success duringassembly this morning,” McGehee said.

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A school like Bogue Chitto is nothing new for McGehee. Hepreviously worked at Pelahatchie, Pisgah and Puckett.

“I’ve spent my whole career at a 1-A school,” McGehee said. “Ifeel real at home in a K-12 building.”

The Natchez native earned his bachelor’s degree at theUniversity of Southern Mississippi and his master’s degree fromMississippi College.

McGehee, 46, said he began re-evaluating his career after 22years as assistant principal and offensive coordinator at Puckett.He served last year as assistant principal at Pisgah before landingthe top job at Bogue Chitto.

“I chose to come here, and I plan to stay,” McGehee said,echoing comments he made earlier in day during the studentassembly.

McGehee said his latest move has led him to an “outstandingplace.”

“I like what I’ve seen, and I’m very impressed with thecommunity,” he said.

Superintendent Terry Brister and the school board haveimplemented a lot of improvements – both academically and in thearea of facilities – at Bogue Chitto since the last time he was atthe school for a football game, McGehee said.

Since arriving in May and officially starting in July, McGeheesaid he has received a lot of assistance for Brister, BogueChitto’s school board representative Joann Holmes and the centraloffice staff.

“People are really blessed with that kind of leadership in thecentral office,” McGehee said.

McGehee said he has high expectations and simple goals for the587-student school. Those include:

* Every senior graduates.

* Maintain level four status and meet growth expectations

* Have a safe, orderly and clean school climate.

* Meet the needs of the community, and

* “Win every day,” a reference a quote from former Notre Damefootball coach Lou Holtz.

McGehee has also established a philosophy of the 3 Fs, to beFair, Firm and Friendly.

“I want us to have discipline here, and I want it to beconsistent,” McGehee said.

McGehee has made a good impression on staff members as well.Speech pathologist and Bogue Chitto graduate Kristi Watts said hewill be a great addition to the school.

“I’m excited for our school to have somebody who’s so upbeat,positive and enthusiastic …,” Watts said. “I’m excited for ourcommunity also.”

McGehee and his wife, Lisa, a physical therapist at Haven Hall,have been married 25 years. Today is their anniversary.

Their daughter Bethany is a 4th-grade teacher at Bogue Chitto,while their other daughter Kerri Brooke is in fifth grade at theschool. Their son Wes is a senior pre-med major at MississippiCollege.

McGehee said he and his wife have been visiting area Baptistchurches.

“We’ve been invited to nine different churches,” McGeheesaid.

In addition to his daughter, McGehee was looking forward toworking with Andy Smithie, the school’s new boys basketball coachand science teacher, and James Allen, math and social studiesinstructor.

McGehee said staff members have been a great help as he adjuststo the new school. He mentioned Mickey Myers as assistantprincipal.

“He’s been a tremendous asset helping me in getting everythinggoing,” McGehee said.

The principal said secretaries Carole Evans and Joyce Allredhave been very helpful and Marilyn Hart Counselor did a great jobin organizing student schedules.

McGehee also commented on outstanding booster club and parentalinvolvement. He mentioned recent participation in construction of anew field house, which he hopes to have ready in time for theschool’s first game.

“It’s as good as any 1-A, 2-A, or 3-A field house in the state,”said McGehee, also citing the added benefit of a spaciousclassroom. “It’s big enough to accommodate some of our future needswe’re going to have.”

McGehee said Monday was everyone’s first school day and he wasexcited about the rest of the year.

“If we can get the train going in the same direction, we’regoing to be in a good situation with the school, the community andmost of all the students,” he said.