New superintendent discusses plans, ideas for school district

Published 6:00 pm Friday, April 1, 2011

After nearly a month on the job, Superintendent Dr. LisaKarmacharya took a recess from budget talks, board meetings andcurriculum to discuss future plans and her background as a guestspeaker for the Rotary Club Thursday.

Little stories and jokes provided more insight to the newestBrookhaven School District administrator than perhaps her extensiveresume of 18 years in education. That time includes most recentlynine years inside the Hattiesburg School District and her historyin educational positions such as principal, assistant principal andspecial education teacher.

Cool, calm and collected, Karmacharya fielded a large variety ofquestions that included her policies on discipline, BSD’srelationship to other area schools and even what she looks for in aprincipal.

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While club members took a second to enjoy their shrimp salad orchicken dish, Karmacharya shared with them a few ideas and goalsshe had for the district; however, she indicated there would benothing too drastic at this point.

“I’m not going to jump in and make huge decisions over night,”said Karmacharya.

The superintendent admitted to the hungry club that she was datadriven and would take time to step back, listen and assess wherethe district is before making any major choices.

She did mention a program that she is looking into that is beingimplemented in 24 other communities in the state. She touched onthe Excel By 5 program, which is a community-based certificationdesigned to get a child kindergarten ready.

“Early childhood education is very important,” said Karmacharya.”We have an obligation to prepare our children so they’resuccessful.”

She also addressed finding a replacement for AssistantSuperintendent James Tillman, who announced his retirement alongwith former Superintendent Lea Barrett in August after 42 years ineducation.

Karmacharya said she is considering all the options in finding aviable replacement and that she hopes to have somebody in place bythe fall.

“It is not pressing at this time, for me,” she said. “And I donot anticipate going outside the district at this point.”

Karmacharya did say that she hopes to revamp the schooldistrict’s website. She said she would like to make the websitemore user friendly and have the district’s new web presence up andrunning by the time school starts.

“It needs a lot of work at this point,” she said. “It’s a littlebusy.”

Karmacharya also recently returned from Jackson, where she wentto support the recent rally to protest possible budget cuts ineducation.

“We’re asking for level funding so we don’t have to makeadditional cuts this year,” said Karmacharya.

If the district is able to receive level funding, Karmacharyasaid the district might be able to add back another position ortwo.

“I think (the rally) made a very strong statement,” saidKarmacharya. “We expect (legislators) to work for us in terms offunding education.”