Shaver ‘big on discipline,’ he says at Q&A

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Superintendent Randy Shaver said during a community question-and-answer forum on Thursday that strict discipline is important in Tupelo schools and that the district’s new chief operating officer will give him more flexibility to be an instructional leader.
Shaver held his third “Conversations with Dr. Shaver” event this year on Thursday morning at City Hall. He answered 13 questions submitted by a crowd of about 30 community members.
“I indeed am big on discipline, and I believe we need it,” Shaver said in response to a question about whether he believed in punishment.
It was not the only question Shaver received about discipline. He was asked earlier in the forum about the state of discipline in the district.
“I don’t think discipline in the Tupelo Public School District is at an all-time low,” Shaver said. “It is very good compared to school districts I’ve worked in before. I think discipline should have as its goal teaching the student, not just punishing the student.”
In answering the later question about punishment, Shaver said that in disciplining students, he needed to follow board policies, which have the force of law.
“When I have schools or administrators who ignore board policies and become Wild West administrators, I am going to follow the law,” he said.
Shaver also was asked why the district needed to spend $120,000 for a chief operating officer, a position that Journal Inc. Chief Executive Officer Billy Crews will assume in January, when he will resign his current position.
Shaver said that the salary was much cheaper than what private-sector companies pay their chief operating officers. He said the position was needed to allow him to spend less time managing and more time leading.
“I’m trying to take more of the management off my plate so I can focus on instructional leadership,” Shaver later said. “My responsibility is to improve achievement, and I can’t do that if I focus on bus routes.”

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.