Barrett wrapping up superintendent tenure

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Brookhaven School District board of trustees made quick workof their agenda Tuesday as emotions ran high during SuperintendentLea Barrett’s last official board meeting.

Barrett announced her retirement in August. And after a five-monthsearch, the board selected veteran Hattiesburg School Districteducator Dr. Lisa Karmacharya as the next superintendent.

“It was harder than what I thought it would be to realize that itwas the last one,” said Barrett. “There’s so many good people hereand we have such wonderful teachers. If you’ve never workedanywhere else, you can’t realize what a wonderful school districtthis is.”

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Barrett boasts an impressive 32 and a half years in education andserved the Brookhaven School District as superintendent for six anda half years.

“I believe in public education with my whole heart,” said Barrett.”It’s such a cliché, but children are our future. Whatever weinvest in them and teach them, makes the world a betterplace.”

However, Tuesday was not Barrett’s final farewell.

Karmacharya will begin her reign at the helm on March 1, butBarrett will remain an employee of the school district until March31. Barrett will help show Karmacharyathe ropes as the former Tigergets adapted to her new den.

“I’m impressed with her enthusiasm and I am impressed with herknowledge,” said Barrett of Karmacharya, who was present forTuesday’s meeting. “I’ll be happy to work for her nextmonth.”

Also Tuesday, board members received several updates on happeningsinside the school district.

Barrett informed the board that the house located behind theBrookhaven Tech Center was demolished about two weeks ago. Thebuilding was purchased by the school district in 1999 and was usedfor guidance counseling while Brookhaven High School was beingrenovated.

The house remained in use by the school district until 2001.Barrett mentioned the building;s small rooms and lack of securestorage made it no longer suitable for the school district’suse.

“The tech center, high school and the central office are all righthere. With all those people trying to find parking, spaces arepretty scare,” said Barrett. “Right now, I think that we would makea parking lot out of it.”

Barrett also updated the school board on the district’s curriculumin observance of Black History Month.

Barrett mentioned that students are doing lots of papers andpresentations on famous African-Americans and classes are workingon specific projects. Science classes are researching famousAfrican-American scientists, music classes are researching periodpieces, physical education classes are learning about famousAfrican-American athletes and social studies classes are focusingon the Civil Rights Movement.

“America is a melting pot and what makes us successful as a nationis that we celebrate diversity,” said Barrett.

As last week was School Board Appreciation Week, Barrett expressedher gratitude for the board’s work by giving each member a gift bagand a proclamation by the governor.

“Every success we have is a direct reflection of that board,” saidBarrett.