MDE Welcomes First Class to New Superintendents' Academy

MDE Welcomes First Class to New Superintendents' Academy
Mississippi Department of Education logo. Photo source MDE

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Education

The Mississippi Department of Education has launched its first Superintendents' Academy, an advanced leadership training program to assist district leaders in their efforts to improve student outcomes.

The academy has been a priority of the MDE and the Mississippi Board of Education, and last year, the Legislature appropriated $500,000 to establish the academy. Superintendents from 19 school districts across the state will review the latest technology for enhancing student learning, participate in advanced leadership training from some of the nation's foremost trainers of company executives, and train to improve the speed and quality of management decision making.

They also will have an opportunity to visit other school districts to review practices that have helped make those districts successful. Participation in the academy is by invitation only, and to be selected is an honor for the superintendent and for his or her board and district, said Mike Kent, director of the academy.

"The knowledge superintendents glean from work in the academy is immediately applicable to any district, regardless of size or location," Kent said.

Dr. J.J. Morgan, superintendent of Forrest County Agricultural High School, said he is proud to be a member of the academy's first class, and he has enjoyed the networking opportunity with other superintendents.

"It is good to know that we all face the same struggles no matter the size of our districts," he said. "I hope that what we learn will help influence others to be a part of this network for years to come and help lead our state. Most of all I hope that it will benefit the children of our state."

To assist districts in incorporating management concepts learned, the academy will host a three-day "Visioning" session in the spring for academy superintendents and their boards where they will be led through joint leadership training and planning activities. They will also meet with boards and superintendents from similar sized districts to share ideas for increasing student achievement and developing a vision for the future.

Dr. Bob Thompson, director of the Center for Executive Leadership at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, is the lead faculty member of the academy. He has led superintendents' academies in Texas and Arkansas.

Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said she looks forward to the positive impact the Superintendents' Academy will have on keeping students at the center of decision making.

"The MDE is proud to offer these professional growth opportunities to our district leaders, and we hope to provide additional training for school leaders in the future," she said.

The following superintendents are in the inaugural class of the academy:

Clay Anglin - Covington County School District

Dr. Debra Dace - Sunflower County Consolidated School District

Dr. Darron Edwards - West Tallahatchie School District

Brian Freeman - Forrest County School District

Debbie Harrell - George County School District

Dr. Fred Hill - Natchez-Adams School District

Brenda J. Hopson - Quitman County School District

Lisa Hull - Philadelphia School District

Angela Johnson - Hollandale School District

Dr. B.R. Jones - Tate County School District

Alan Lumpkin - Pearl River County School District

Delesicia M. Martin - Hinds County School District

Ken McMullan - Louisville School District

Dr. J. J. Morgan - Forrest County Agricultural High School

Cedric Richardson - North Panola School District

Chad Shealy - Vicksburg-Warren School District

Dr. Linda Smith - Lumberton School District

Elliot Wheeler - Humphreys County School District

Dr. Philip W.V. Hickman - Columbus Municipal School District