Hattiesburg superintendent candidates discuss their plans for th - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg superintendent candidates discuss their plans for the district

photo credit: WDAM photo credit: WDAM
Tony McGee/photo credit: WDAM Tony McGee/photo credit: WDAM
Janice Johnson/photo credit: WDAM Janice Johnson/photo credit: WDAM
Toriano Holloway/photo credit: WDAM Toriano Holloway/photo credit: WDAM

The community got the opportunity to hear from three superintendent candidates for the Hattiesburg Public School District Sunday afternoon.

The community heard from Toriano Holloway, assistant superintendent of Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District; Janice Johnson, assistant superintendent of Biloxi Public School District and Tony McGee, superintendent of Scott County School District.

School district officials said they wanted to get the community involved and hear feedback from them before the school board makes its final decision.

Each candidate gave a 10-minute introduction speech and explain why he or she should be chosen for the job.

“It’s going to take the whole Hattiesburg community to bring back the pride that existed in this district,” Holloway said.

McGee stressed the importance of keeping children in school.

“We got to get kids to stay in school," he said. "We got to get kids to understand that it’s important to get a good high school education, to get a good college education and to be able to provide for their family."

Johnson said she wants the kids to learn in the best environment possible.

“We’ve got to have the right environment so our students can learn and grow," she said. "We must provide our teachers with needed resources to help address the needs of the students, however they may come through the class room doors. We need to make sure we give those teachers support starting with the school board, superintendent and administrators.”

People who attended were given comment cards to share their thoughts on each candidate and this feedback will be shown to the school board members before they make a final decision.

“We feel like the citizens of Hattiesburg, whether they have students in school or not, are impacted by the school," said Jas N’ Smith, Hattiesburg Public School District director of public relations. "So this choice will have an impact on their lives."

The school board plans on choosing a superintendent by the end of the month. Rep. Toby Barker said he is confident that the board will make the right choice

“I think we have three very qualified people with three very distinct backgrounds, and I noticed a lot of similar themes on where they want to take the district in the future,” Barker said.

However, some parents do not feel like their voices were heard and are concerned about the school districts future.

“There should’ve been a community question and answer," said mother Gia Croom. "The community should’ve been able to communicate their particular opinion."

The school district said they will choose the next superintendent on July 1.

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