Prentiss schools make interim leadership adjustments

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

BOONEVILLE – People at all levels in the Prentiss County School District are still adjusting to the tragedy that struck last week with the death of a young administrator and injuries to two other district leaders.
Superintendent Randle Downs remains hospitalized in Tupelo but appears to be improving physically, said School Board President Ronny Kesler. Some time after Kesler’s visit with him at the hospital, Downs was restricted to no visitors and no phone calls, Kesler said.
“I went by after the funeral Saturday and it’s taking a lot out of him,” Kesler said. “They’re wanting him to rest as much as possible.”
Special Education Director Luke Ledbetter also is improving from his injuries physically, Kesler said, although he also is still emotionally shaken.
Both men were injured in a Wednesday afternoon four-vehicle accident on North Second Street that killed Jason McKinney, 36, the school district’s curriculum coordinator and transportation director.
Wheeler Principal Todd Sweeney has assumed acting superintendent duties. He served before as acting superintendent after the previous superintendent resigned and before Downs’ election.
The state Department of Education also sent Mac Curlee, former principal of Tupelo High School, to provide any assistance the district needs during this period.
A school board meeting is being planned for this week, but Kesler said nothing has been set as far as date or time.
“We’ll get back on track but it’s going to take some time,” he said.

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