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School board studying leader criteria

The Lincoln County School Board met Friday to discuss criteria for hiring a new superintendent.

Mickey Myers was originally elected for the position in 2015. In 2016, Mississippi passed a law making the superintendent an appointed position for all school districts. Myers originally planned to retire at the end of his term, but agreed to continue on until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

The board reviewed several brochures from other districts submitted by the Mississippi School Board Association. The brochures advertising the position contain general information about the district and the community, promotional art and photographs and a series of application criteria. Board members set aside an hour in the meeting to go over the various criteria found in the brochures and discuss their merits.

Usually, a superintendent must have classroom or school administrator experience to be legally hired for the position. State law does allow for an alternative path for those with a master’s degree and at least six years of experience in a leadership position. But Educational District 5 Trustee Timothy Cunningham argued against hiring a business person for the position.

“Having an education background is pretty important,” Cunningham said.

“I think that’s a strong consideration,” Myers agreed.

Other considerations include a willingness to develop a familiarity with the local district and an ability to create trust in local faculty and students, and an ability to make difficult decisions.

Board President Billy Vaughn said the suggested application criteria were more general than specific. The idea is to cast a wide net in hiring superintendents that are competing for the position.

The board also heard from the principals of each of the four attendance centers in the district to discuss priorities for upcoming building projects. The board plans to send their requirements to County Engineer Ryan Holmes, who will draw up preliminary plans and cost estimates.