By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Jackie Ford was named the New Albany School District’s superintendent during a school board meeting Monday night.
Ford has been serving as the district’s interim superintendent since May. He replaced Charles Garrett, who retired from the district to take a leadership position with the Wellspring Center for Professional Futures. Prior to that, Ford had been New Albany’s assistant superintendent for seven years.
“From the applicants we received, he was the best fit,” said New Albany School Board President Jerry Tate. “I don’t think we could have found anyone better.”
Ford, 61, has been an educator for 39 years. He spent 19 years as a classroom teacher at Pine Grove High School in Tippah County before working 13 years as vocational/career and technical director in New Albany and then becoming assistant superintendent.
Tate said the district accepted applications until Aug. 24 and received two. He said the board wanted to have the new superintendent named by Jan. 1.
Ford will receive a two-year contract. Financial terms were not immediately available.
Ford said the district soon will make upgrades to its facilities and infrastructure. That includes an energy upgrade that will use more efficient lighting, as well as improvements to technology infrastructure.
The district also will aim to be ranked as a Star district, the highest of seven levels awarded by the state based on test scores, Ford said.
Last year, New Albany was High Performing, the second highest level. New rankings will be released at the end of this week.
“We will put a lot of emphasis on reading, especially at the K-2 level,” Ford said. “We are just going to build off of our successes we’ve had in the past and keep pushing. Our goal is excellence in education, and that is what we are all about.”