By Royce Armstrong
The George County School Board’s search for a district superintendent is entering a new phase this week. The school board will hold the first of several closed-door meetings to review applications and select those candidates it wishes to interview.
Dr. Tommye Henderson, a consultant to the Mississippi School Board Association (MSBA) delivered the application files for the 11 qualified candidates to the school board members before their regularly scheduled meeting last week.
In 2016, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law doing away with elected school superintendents in favor of superintendents appointed by the school board. In passing that law the state joins most of the rest of the nation in determining how the heads of school districts are hired. Of the roughly 14,500 school districts across the nation, only 154 were elected. Mississippi had the most elected superintendents of any state in the country. All Mississippi school superintendents will be hired by their local school boards effective January 1, 2020.
The George County School Board found itself with the responsibility of hiring a school superintendent for the first time and decided it needed help crafting a position description and setting qualifications for a school superintendent. After considering a number of consulting firms, it chose to hire the MSBA as a consultant.
The MSBA provides search assistance as a part of its mission. The MSBA has been advertising the position on websites and school administrator publications since the beginning of the year. It has screened those applications, narrowing the field down to those candidates who best fit the qualifications set by the school board, according to school board president Barkley Henderson.
Now, the school board will begin the process of reviewing those applications and conducting interviews with the candidates. That process may take several months, he said.
The school board is hopeful it can announce who the new school superintendent will be by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
The new school superintendent will assume those responsibilities at the beginning of calendar year 2020.