By NEMS Daily Journal

School board knows things other people don’t
Seven years ago when my family, including 3 school-age children, relocated to Tupelo two strong factors influencing our decision were the reputation of the school district and the Tupelo spirit.
Our youngest child is now a student at the high school. I do not personally know Lee Stratton but people I know and whose opinions I value say that he is a fantastic person and a solid leader.
My daughter speaks highly of him and says that her teachers like and respect him.
Our school board members volunteer many hours to do this job. I believe their primary motivation is the education and welfare of our students. They are privy to information that other parents and community stakeholders are not. No one type of leadership is best for all situations. They are members of our community and surely knew how controversial this personnel change would be; yet they must have believed so strongly they were making the right decision that they decided to take the heat. It would have been easier for them to do nothing. It is to their credit that they acted as they judged best.
The decision has been made.
Ruth Condit

Retired principal seeks board’s resignations
I retired from the Tupelo Public School District in 2003 after serving 31 years as an educator/administrator.
During my tenure with the TPSD, I served as Principal of Rankin, Joyner, King and Lawndale.
I do not believe Lee Stratton was afforded the support necessary in a job as comprehensive as that of THS Principal. In my professional opinion, Stratton is an exemplary leader at THS and should remain in that position. Had Dr. Randy Shaver given Mr. Stratton the full, enormous and unrestricted support of the entire TPSD, then much of the recent unrest could have been avoided.
I’m so proud of the citizens of Tupelo who stood up to injustice and let their voices be heard. The City Council deserves accolades for listening to its constituents and openly calling for the resignation. Shaver’s resignation is a good start, but its only the beginning if TPSD is going to truly restore excellence. I strongly believe the current school board members should step down immediately. I see no conceivable way that this board could lead our school district in a quest to regain excellence at the highest level. Our current Tupelo School Board is Dr. Shaver’s board. Keep in mind that every decision he made was encouraged, endorsed, supported and approved by this school board, and that includes the horrendous decision to reassign Mr. Stratton.
This would allow the mayor and City Council to select a new school board and give our school district a clean slate at the very top for new beginnings. It’s time our school board represented the diversity of the families of the district. Historically, the school board in Tupelo is made up primarily of high income individuals, and that does not reflect the make up of our school district. We have many hard working, intelligent, middle income folks who will make outstanding school board members. Tupelo is blessed with absolutely excellent classroom teachers who only need supportive leadership at the top. I would hope this board could serve a two year term to assure the smoothest possible transition to a new era of leadership for the TPSD and a return to excellence at the very highest level.
Dr. John E. Cother
Principal (retired)

Retain Stratton in acts to rebuild school system
I jumped for joy at the announcement about Randy Shaver.
Our student and teacher morale has dropped steadily since he arrived. Our schools need a supportive administration that has experience with teaching, not somebody that has sat in an office and made decisions when they know nothing about the area and needs of the people. Our teachers have been demoralized with the lack of support this administration has shown. Students can sense the frustration of their teachers.
This causes problems all the way around. Tupelo is too good a town to have a man run its schools who has no idea what we are about here. Any administration that would even consider getting rid of a man like Lee Stratton at the helm of its high school has got to have a problem for its leadership.
Gail Rutland Geno

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