By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Oxford School District officials announced Tuesday that Brian Harvey has been selected as the district’s new superintendent.
Harvey has been interim superintendent since May 2011, when then-Superintendent Kim Stasny died after a short illness. His new contract begins July 1.
“Mr. Harvey’s experience in the district, his vision for the schools, and his knowledge of the capital improvement plans were among the factors in this selection,” said the school board’s chairman, Bela J. “Buddy” Chain.
Harvey has worked in the district for 17 years, first as a teacher at middle and high school levels, then assistant principal at Oxford High School, principal at both Central Elementary and Oxford Middle School, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent. He worked with Stasny in developing the capital improvement plan and has overseen its implementation.
Harvey’s roots in the district reach beyond his career. A 1990 graduate of Oxford High School, he and his wife have three children who are students in the district in grades 2, 5 and 7.
“It is gratifying to be able to continue to work with this group of people,” he said, calling the district’s employees, students, parents and other supporters “the best in the state.”
One of Harvey’s priorities will be maintaining the district’s High Performing ranking and ensuring all students benefit from its advantages.
“Our biggest challenge is closing the achievement gap,” he said. “We’ve got to improve the achievement level of students whether they’re black or white, economically disadvantaged or affluent.”
Harvey also will oversee the district’s most important construction in decades. Most district campuses are scheduled for extensive renovations, and a new high school is in final plan revisions. The new OHS campus’ construction was to have been contracted this month, but bids came in above budget, and planners are working to match money and features before reissuing a contract proposal.
School board members voted 3-2 for Harvey’s selection, having also interviewed Muscle Shoals, Ala., Superintendent Jeff Wooten and Bay St. Louis Principal Andy Parker.
“Any one of these candidates could be an outstanding superintendent,” Chain said. “Rather than Brian’s being promoted without a search as an internal candidate, I think for him to have competed and won the position will be an advantage.”