By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Tupelo’s city council reappointed on Tuesday night the longest tenured member of the city’s school board.
Council members also unanimously approved a resolution protecting its method of selecting members to that board.
Reappointed was Eddie Prather, whose first five-year term on the board expires this month. The former school administrator now will serve a second five-year term, following a 7-0 vote by the Council.
“I believe this will provide some continuity on the school board, particularly considering there are two relatively new members on the school board,” said Mayor Jason Shelton, who nominated Prather for re-appointment.
Prather will be the only person on Tupelo’s five-member school board to be serving a second term. Board President Rob Hudson, with three years of experience, has the next longest tenure, while Joe Babb and Sherry Davis each have been on the board for less than a year.
“I think it is very important to have an experienced person on the board, and Mr. Prather has served the board well,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis.
Prather currently works as an educational consultant. His 31-year career as an educator includes stints as superintendent of the Okolona School District and as principal of Pearl High School.
Prather said he did not seek a second term, but agreed to serve after being asked by Shelton. He said he wanted to help the district continue on its current path under the leadership of Superintendent Gearl Loden.
“Tupelo has always been a leader in public education, and whatever I can do to continue that, I am willing to provide that service,” he said.
Meanwhile, the City Council also passed a resolution opposing any legislation that would make school board positions into elected ones.
A bill that would have done so was proposed in the state House this year, although it died on the calendar last week. Ward 2 Councilman Lynn Bryan said the resolution was still important because that issue could be resurrected by state lawmakers.
In Tupelo, as in most Mississippi municipal school districts, board members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council.
“Our state Legislature wants to get in the way of how we run our school district, which has been very successful,” Bryan said.