By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Incumbent Superintendent Mike Scott survived a Democratic primary test to advance to November’s general election.
Up next, he will face his assistant superintendent, Jimmy Weeks.
Scott, who has held the Lee County School District’s top position for the past three and a half years, received 2,113 votes, or 70 percent. His lone opponent, retired educator John McGaugh, had 905 votes.
“I feel like I got a good vote all the way around,” said Scott, who was unopposed four years ago. “I was pleased.”
The Republican primary was a little closer. Weeks received 3,380 votes, or 57.4 percent. Shannon High School Principal Robert Smith trailed with 2,506 votes.
“The first thing I’d like to say is to thank everyone who voted for me,” Weeks said. “I appreciate those people having confidence in me and believing in me and casting their vote for me. This was a lot of hard work, and I had a lot of people out working for me and helping me. I appreciate all their hard work.”
Scott, 56, has been an educator 33 years. He spent his first 29 years at Shannon High School, including three years as principal. As he approaches the Nov. 8 general election, he said his focus remains on continuing initiatives the district has started. That includes a new curriculum and use of data to identify and help struggling students.
“My message is the same as it has been,” he said. “It is just halftime now. We’ve got the rest of the game to play.”
Weeks, 39, has been assistant superintendent for the past year after spending seven years as principal at Mooreville Elementary. He’s in his 15th year as an educator, including 10 years as a principal. He also plans to keep the same campaign focus.
“I will stick to the four points of my campaign: good instructional programs, building those relationships with the community and parents, spending money wisely, and making sure the students and parents both feel safe when kids come to school,” he said.
Neither candidate wanted to comment about his opponent or the unique situation of having a superintendent and assistant superintendent running against one other.
Neither McGaugh nor Smith said whom he would support on Nov. 8. Both said they appreciated the support received.
In other superintendent elections, decided as of 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, Mae Brewer won election in Clay County; Scott Cantrell won in Monroe County.
In Marshall County, Felicia Anderson Harvell appears to have advanced to a runoff against Jerry Moore on the Democratic side. However, Moore was just two votes short of getting 50 percent plus one, and could be declared the winner when official results are counted. There is no Republican in that race.
In Itawamba County, Michael Cates and Michael Nanney advanced to a Democratic runoff. The winner will face Republican Millie Wood.