Alabama superintendent among Tupelo finalists

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The superintendent of the Muscle Shoals, Ala., school district is one of three finalists for Tupelo’s superintendent job, according to a report in The Florence, Ala., Times Daily newspaper.
Jeff Wooten, 51, has led the 2,850-student city school district for the past decade.
Tupelo school board attorney Otis Tims said the board cannot comment on the report because it has promised candidate confidentiality. Attempts to reach Wooten were unsuccessful.
Tupelo recently limited its search to three finalists, two from Mississippi and one from outside the state. The board plans to interview all three finalists a second time.
School board President Amy Heyer said earlier this week it would keep finalists confidential because some candidates said they would withdraw if their names were revealed.
Wooten is also one of five finalists for the Oxford superintendent job, according to the Times Daily’s report.
This past October, Wooten was one of nine finalists for Alabama’s 2012 Superintendent of the Year. Wooten’s school district has a preschool, three elementary schools, a middle school, a high school and a technology center.
The school district is 78.5 percent white students and 17.5 percent black students, according to a report prepared last March. About 31 percent of the district’s students qualify for federal meal subsidies.
The district ranked in the top 15 of Alabama’s 132 systems on most of the state tests its elementary school students took in 2009-10, according to that same report. Its high school students also had passing rates greater than 95 percent on most of their tests. The system also had a high school graduation rate of 93 percent, the report said, while the state average was 67 percent.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com