By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo accountant Joe Babb was selected on Tuesday to fill a vacant seat on the city school district’s Board of Trustees.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. announced his nomination of Babb, 31, during an afternoon press conference at City Hall. The City Council then approved him by a unanimous vote during its regular meeting on Tuesday night.
Babb will serve a five-year term. He fills the seat that was vacated when Amy Heyer’s term expired on March 2.
“Our biggest challenge right now is getting young families to decide they want to remain in Tupelo schools,” Reed said. “He is the right person for that challenge.”
Babb is a shareholder in Eaton, Babb & Smith, P.A., in Tupelo. He and his wife Lauren have two daughters, Cate, 7, and Ava, 5. Cate is a first-grader at Carver Elementary School and Ava will enter kindergarten next year.
“There is no greater charge that we have as a society than to educate children and prepare them for the world,” Babb said. “A strong school system is a most valuable asset a city can have.”
Reed said Babb will be able to relate to young families trying to decide where to send their children.
“He is precisely the age of elementary parents deciding where their children will go to school,” Reed said. “He has that point of view and can relate to them.”
Babb graduated as Ripley High School’s valedictorian in 2000 and graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Accountancy degree. He received his Masters of Taxation from MSU the next year.
He serves as chairman of the finance committee at First United Methodist Church in Tupelo and treasurer of the Kiwanis Club.
“He’s always been a man of integrity and will do a good job,” said Council President Fred Pitts.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis said the Tupelo School District has moved in the right direction since replacing the previous school superintendent and applauded Reed on appointing a younger school board member.
“I think youth will always make things better,” she said. “They always know new ways of doing things.”
TPSD Superintendent Gearl Loden said he is excited to work with Babb.
“He seems to be very pro-public education and wants our district to do well,” he said.
Robbie Ward contributed to this story.