Okolona superintendent declines post

CJ-0327-OKO-Super-G-2COKOLONA – Dr. Jerry Woods has told the Okolona School Board he will not take the district’s top post, prompting the board to meet with their second choice on Monday.

Woods was offered the job of Superintendent of the Okolona School District Sunday afternoon following a community interview and vote by the Okolona School Board.

Dexter Green, a principal with Tunica County Schools and a 23-year veteran educator, is the apparent second choice. Dr. Debra Dace, also with Tunica County Schools was also one of the three finalist presented to the public Sunday.

“We have accepted Dr. Woods decision and the full board will meet with Mr. Green Monday about this situation,” said Okolona School Board Vice President William Bailey. “Dr. Woods had more experience as a superintendent, but we felt like Mr. Green was more approachable. He has also had a lot of success at Tunica.”

Bailey said Woods declined the job for personal reasons.

Okolona School Board Secretary Nancy Sullivan said she was pleased with all three candidates and the district is trying to move quickly to name a superintendent.

“Mr. Green has many outstanding qualities and I feel he can move the district in the right direction,” said Sullivan. “This situation has come as a surprise to us but the district is moving through it.”

The Okolona district went into conservatorship in February 2010 due to poor academic rankings and financial instability. The school board was dissolved and the superintendents’ post vacated when a state conservator was named.

The district came out from under state sanctions last summer. A five-member school board made up of Dr. Jerome Smith, Bailey, Sullivan, Sara L. Jenkins and William “Bill” Stewart was seated in December. Trustees have repeatedly said selecting a new superintendent was their top priority.

Green said Friday he was “still very interested in the position,” but felt commenting on the situation at this time was inappropriate. He did say he will meet with the Okolona School Board on Monday.

The district had nine applicants for superintendent and pared that list to three. Sunday’s public forum saw each of the three finalist asked a series of five questions.

Green said Sunday his first 100 days would be used to work with the staff to develop a five-year plan for the district.

“I feel the key to effective teaching involves four things,” said Green. “Teachers need a lesson plan, they need to manage their classes, they must effectively deliver instruction, and there needs to be assessment of what is happening in the classroom.”

Green said teachers must be held accountable for what happens in their classroom. He said administrators and the central office need to give teachers the tools and support they need to do their job.

While principal at Dundee Elementary School in Tunica County, the school was one of 12 in the state to receive the prestigious “Closing the Achievement Gap Award” for outstanding achievement in 2007.

Dundee Elementary received the PREPS Added Value School Award in 2005 and 2007. The award is presented to high performing schools in Mississippi

Dundee Elementary is ranked 130 out of 432 elementary schools throughout the state of Mississippi according to schooldigger.com reports.

Green received his Masters of Education from Jackson State University and has been a principal at Dundee Elementary for the past 10 years


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