10 hopefuls want a chance to lead county school district

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ten applicants are hopeful they’ll be the next superintendent for the Lincoln County School District.

This will be the county’s first appointed superintendent and the person chosen will take over in July. Superintendent Mickey Myers’ elected four-year term was over in December, but he was contracted to continue as the district’s superintendent until his replacement could be hired.

The Board of Trustees met Thursday in a special session to discuss the applicants with Denotris Jackson, the assistant executive director of the Mississippi School Board Association, and Tommye Henderson, the MSBA superintendent search consultant.

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Trustees will meet again Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the district office on East Monticello Street. They will likely discuss the superintendent applicants further in a closed-door, executive session as part of the regular board meeting, said Board President Justin Laird.

Among those who applied are three superintendents, one assistant superintendent, one director, four principals and one manager of a business, according to a written statement released Tuesday. Three of the applicants have a doctorate degree. Seven of the applicants are male, and three of the applicants are female. Nine of the applicants are from Mississippi, and one is from Utah.

Laird has asked that the community respect the confidentiality of the applicants.

“We as a board cannot discuss any specifics other than what is in this press release,” he said. “We continue to ask for your prayers and support during this pivotal moment in our county’s history. I want to assure the people of Lincoln County that the school board will make the final decision. I know I have been in deep prayer over this decision as well as our other board members.”

Each application was reviewed, analyzed, and evaluated according to the established criteria and references were checked. Applicants who had not previously been interviewed by the MSBA search team were interviewed in the MSBA office in Ridgeland or through a video or telephone interview.

Reference letters for each applicant were received. Telephone calls and personal contacts were made to gain additional information about each applicant. A determination was also made as to whether each applicant met the qualifications to be a superintendent based on Mississippi Code.

As part of the search, the board contracted with MSBA to advertise the vacancy. MSBA Executive Director Mike Waldrop sent an email to over 5,000 people on the association’s mailing list announcing the search and requesting assistance in publicizing the vacancy. He also wrote personal letters to possible applicants, Laird said.

The vacancy announcement was sent to the National School Boards Association, which posted it on their website. All inquiries to MSBA regarding the position were answered, and a brochure outlining the procedures to apply for the position was sent to each. Telephone and email responses were made to those who had been recommended or who had expressed an interest in the position.

The deadline to receive applications was Dec. 6 and all completed applications which were postmarked on or before the deadline were accepted and processed, he said.

Henderson led three stakeholder meetings Aug. 15 for principals and district office staff, for teachers and school staff, and for parents, business leaders and community members.

An online survey was made available to the district’s stakeholder groups, including teachers, administrators, parents, and community/business members. Results from all surveys were compiled by MSBA and provided to the board for use in the interview process and as a foundation for making the decision as to who will be the new superintendent.