By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
Last week, Tupelo Certified Public Accountant Joe Babb was nominated by Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and unanimously approved by the City Council to fill a spot on the Tupelo School Board. Daily Journal education reporter Chris Kieffer spoke to Babb about his service on the board.
Q: One of the assets the mayor highlighted was your ability to connect with young families. What will you do to try to convince young families to keep their children in the Tupelo Public School District?
A: First of all, I don’t think it is my role to try to convince others where to send their children to school. I think that is a very private decision that each family must make based upon what they think is in the best interest of their child. That’s something that I honor and respect.
However, my wife, Lauren, and I, after weighing all options chose to send our children to Tupelo Public Schools. We have been very pleased. Our oldest is completing first grade after attending kindergarten. Our youngest will start kindergarten next year. At Carver, our oldest has had a great experience this year. The environment has been safe and enriching. She has a wonderful teacher and the administrators have been easy to work with and very accessible about any of our concerns. It has been academically challenging for her. For instance, she is doing algebra in the first grade. She has a warm relationship with her teacher, as do her parents, and has had an easy time of social acclimation. That’s been our experience.
Q: What were your impressions of Tupelo schools when you were growing up in Ripley?
A: My impressions of Tupelo was that it was a place with good leadership that cared about its public school system. I think when Tupelo’s leadership stood up for public education in Tupelo during the time when public schools all over the state were threatened, that set the tone for the region, and I think because of that, Northeast Mississippi has been a prosperous place and wonderful place to raise a family. We have quite a legacy to uphold.
Q: What do you see as the most important challenges facing the school district?
A: I think this district needs to continue to find ways to foster community support and nourish the sense of pride that can exist around a school system. I think that is done by giving teachers the support they need in the classroom and by being open-minded to parents with concerns.
I am excited. Our generation has the opportunity to solidify and reaffirm this proud district. If we as parents will stick together and work together we will accomplish unbelievable things together through Tupelo Public Schools.
When things don’t go right, we’ll find a solution together. When they do, we will celebrate.