Members of the Covington County School Board have officially signed a contract to receive assistance in hiring the next superintendent since the State of Mississippi now requires superintendents to be appointed instead of elected following legislative action in 2016.

Mississippi School Boards Association Executive Director Dr. Michael Waldrop met with school board members and their attorney during a work session before their regular monthly meeting at the district’s office Monday, April 8, 2019.

The board chose a service level worth $4,700, plus travel and clerical expenses. This level allows the MSBA to help with advertising for potential applicants, vetting and background checks, and other steps required to find quality applicants. It also puts the burden of interviews on the local level, which could be a positive for the board to meet more people face to face before making a selection.

“Y’all have chosen a search y’all will have a little more responsibility for,” Waldrop said.

Waldrop also explained requirements set by the state for superintendents, such as being in charge of A or B schools, moving schools up a level and maintaining the advancement, or a seated superintendent or assistant superintendent the past five years. There are also alternative ways to find a new leader, such as departments directors, principals, and business professionals.

“You can’t take their word for it on their resume,” Waldrop explained. “You have to verify it.”

Now that the contract is signed, there are many other steps to take. There will be a profile created for potential candidates, ads placed in Mississippi and every other state through school board associations, and a final timeline. The new superintendent will more than likely take office on January 1, 2020.

The school board set a window of five weeks for applications to be accepted.

“We’re going to cast a really broad net as far as searching for candidates,” Waldrop told the board.

Board President Lynn Smith said the board unanimously chose to move forward with hiring the MSBA. Current Superintendent of Education for Covington County Dr. Arnetta Crosby won the previous election and is currently serving as an elected official; however, according to Smith, her term will expire December 31, 2019, with the appointed person taking office January 1, 2020.

We have to have an appointed person in place then,” Smith explained. “We have a great deal of respect for the current superintendent, Dr. Crosby, and we invite her to be a part of the process… We owe it to the legislators and the taxpayers to find the best person for the job.”

(The News-Commercial)