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School board has tall task ahead

The mostly new Lincoln County School Board of Trustees has a tough job on their hands. For the first time, board members are appointing a superintendent.

Until now, Lincoln County superintendents have been elected.

The board, with four new members, will choose an individual to lead the school system starting in January 2020.

“This is the most important decision you’ll ever make,” Michael Waldrop, executive director of Mississippi School Board Association, told board members this week.

Waldrop is right. And although Waldrop’s help conducting a search won’t be cheap, it will be money well spent. Finding a qualified individual who can lead the school district to success will be difficult, especially considering dozens of other school districts are also on the hunt.

“There are a lot of openings. I’ve never seen anything like it since I’ve been doing this,” Waldrop said. “Generally, the salaries are going up because you’re in a competitive market now. It’s a buyer’s market because there’s so many of these jobs available.”

With this new authority to appoint a superintendent comes new responsibility. Elected superintendents answer to the voting public. An appointed superintendent answers to the board. The buck no longer stops with the superintendent but with board members.

We are confident the school board will find the right individual for the job. That they are contracting with a firm to help with the search shows they are serious about handling the process thoroughly.

The man currently in the top school job, Mickey Myers, says he is still undecided on whether he will apply to keep the job. The board does not appear ready to simply appoint him.

“At the last board meeting, what we did is we approved that we were going to open it up and Mr. Myers is welcome to apply,” said Board President Billy Vaughn.

Should Myers decide to apply, it appears he will be considered along with any other candidates who want the job. That’s the best approach and one that ensures the best individual is hired.