School leader selection

The New Albany Schools Board of Trustees has voted to conduct a national search for a new superintendent to succeed Dr. Charles Garrett, who is leaving the district June 30.

The vote was 3 to 2. Dr. Jason Dees, Bernice Bailey and Dr. Susan McClelland voted in favor. Jerry Tate and Bobby Gault voted against the motion to have a search. The board then voted unanimously to name Assistant Superintendent Jackie Ford as the interim superintendent for up to one year.
We think the board made the right decision. The job of school superintendent is often the most important job in a community. The quality of the schools dictates the success or failure of a lot of things in the community, from economic development to the quality of life.
And the quality of the schools often is a reflection of the vision, the values and the strengths of the superintendent. It’s important to have the best person available.
That is in no way a reflection on Mr. Ford. Often a national search confirms that the best person already has the job. That’s what happened recently in Oxford where after an exhaustive search and extensive interviews, Assistant Superintendent Brian Harvey was selected to lead the Oxford public schools.
New Albany has decided to have the Mississippi School Boards Association conduct the initial search. We support that, with the caveat that the three finalists should be publicly named before the board conducts its final interviews.
We are confident Mr. Ford will be a strong candidate, and will do an excellent job while the process, which could take a number of months, is conducted.