2 area educators selected for state education advisory council

Published 7:16 pm Monday, January 20, 2020

Two Lincoln County educators will be sharing their ideas for improving Mississippi schools with Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, but not at the same time.

During his campaign, Hosemann promised to seek input from public educators throughout the state when considering legislation impacting public schools. He recently named 20 public school leaders to serve on an Administrator Advisory Council, including Lincoln County School District Superintendent Mickey Myers and Loyd Star Elementary Principal Jeremy Peagler.

Peagler will step in when Myers retires in June.

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“For Mississippi to succeed, our public schools must succeed,” said Hosemann, who plans to name a separate advisory council of teachers in early February. “This requires us to listen to educators and address their needs. I look forward to working with this group and other administrators to continue advancing student achievement and supporting our schools.”

The Advisory Council includes representatives from each of nine regions: Northeast, Golden Triangle, East Central, Pine Belt, Coast, Capitol Area, Southwest, Delta and North Mississippi.  It includes superintendents; elementary, middle, and high school principals; and career and technical, special education, and curriculum and instruction directors.

Myers and Peagler will be joined by one other representative in the Southwest region, Superintendent Chad Shealy with the Vicksburg Warren School District.

Hosemann’s team will keep the advisory council informed about legislation relevant to public schools as the Senate moves throughout the 2020 Legislative session.

Hosemann has asked members to share concerns they may be grappling with in their districts.  During the summertime, Hosemann plans to call on members to participate in various study groups to examine potential legislation for the 2021 Legislative Session.

Myers said this is a prestigious honor to be asked to participate in the council.

“I agreed to serve on this committee with a degree of hesitation due to my pending retirement,” he said. “However, I cherish the opportunity to have a greater voice for the next few months in our state’s educational matters.  I realize that both our legislative and executive officials have monumental challenges ahead with infrastructure, health care, department of corrections, etc., but I sense a high degree of optimism during the 2020 Legislative session related to education.”

Myers has worked with other educators regarding bills introduced in both the House and Senate that have implications for public schools.

“We have interacted consistently with the Mississippi Department of Education’s Accreditation Commission and Accountability Task Force to level the playing field for attendance centers and schools with non-traditional configurations or grade bands,” he said.

He said Peagler is a good choice to finish the term and is glad to see Lincoln County will continue to have a voice on the council when he retires.

“My assumption is that Dr. Peagler was selected to serve beginning July 1 for several reasons,” he said. “It will grant Lincoln County continued representation in this capacity with a professional educator/administrator widely recognized for staying abreast of educational issues and trends.  Also, Dr. Peagler has been a liaison to Legislators in recent years and has worked actively with Mr. Hosemann’s campaign.”

Peagler is completing eight years as principal at Loyd Star Elementary. Prior to his tenure in Lincoln County, he served as a special services teacher and coach in Houston, Texas, for six years.

He currently serves as adjunct faculty at William Carey University School of Education where he manages graduate degree cohorts for teachers pursuing master’s and specialist degrees in education in Southwest Mississippi.

He was the winner of the “2019 Making a Difference Research Award” from the Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools for his research and doctoral dissertation on “Contribution Factors Leading to Teacher Burnout in Rural Mississippi Schools.”

One of his concerns is teacher shortage and he wants to offer input about ways to get more teachers in the classroom.

He said the number of teachers applying for licenses with the state is down about 92 percent over the last two years.

“I’m very honored to serve with this group of educators that’s basically a who’s who list of great minds in public education in the state that are going to be sitting down at one table and trying to solve some of these problems with education,” he said. “I applaud Lt. Gov. Hosemann for creating this council. He has done a great job of listening to the concerns of educators since I’ve known him.”

Others on the council are:

• Northeast — Lee Childress, superintendent of the Corinth School District, and Raymond Craven, assistant superintendent of Baldwyn School District (Northeast)

• Golden Triangle —Lenora Hogan, director of Millsaps Career and Technical Center, and Cherie Labat, superintendent of the Columbus Municipal School District

• East Central —Howard Savage, principal of Quitman High School, and Cody Killen, principal of Neshoba Central Middle School

• Pinebelt — Robert Williams with the Hattiesburg Public School District, Helen Price, principal of Oak Grove High School and Charles Breland, superintendent of Greene County School District

• Coast — Wayne Rodolfich, superintendent of the Pascagoula-Gautier School District and Nicole Menotti, director of Curriculum and Instruction of the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District

• Capitol area — Lori G. Torrey, principal of Spann Elementary School in the Jackson Public School District, and Charlotte Seals, superintendent of the Madison County School District

• Delta — Joe Nelson, superintendent of the Clarksdale Municipal School District, and Laquita Moore, director of Special Education in the Tunica County School District

• North — Sherry Anderson, principal of Lewisburg Elementary School in the DeSoto County School District, and Adam Pugh, superintendent of the Lafayette County School District.