THS sticks with Stratton as leader

TUPELO – Interim Tupelo High School Principal Lee Stratton will continue to lead THS in the new school year, with “interim” removed from his title.
The Tupelo school board approved Stratton for the permanent position Tuesday. Stratton emerged from a field of candidates who were vetted by a search firm and was one of three finalists selected for interviews.
“We have high expectations for principal at Tupelo High School,” said Superintendent Randy Shaver, who recommended Stratton for the position. “We expect a strong focus on teaching and learning, and we will give him the support to ensure that he is successful.”
Stratton has spent 24 of his 30 years as an educator with Tupelo schools, first as a boys basketball coach and then as assistant high school principal.
“We’ve always been thrilled to be in Tupelo and associated with the schools,” said Stratton, whose wife, Janet, is a Tupelo native and has served as the high school nurse.
The new principal, who oversees nearly 2,000 students in ninth through 12th grade, said he’s proud of the way teachers and students pulled together to finish the school year strong and expects to carry that momentum into the new school year.
“We have a lot of challenges, just like schools all over the country,” Stratton said. “But that just increases your opportunities. … The strength of the school is in the teachers. The focus is on the students.”
It has been a year of transition for Tupelo High School. Glenda Scott was initially appointed interim high school principal after Principal Mac Curlee announced his retirement in December.
She asked to be reassigned in the spring, and now serves as director of curriculum for the district.
Stratton’s administrative team will include former Fillmore Center director Larry Harmon, who is now the director of innovative and alternative programs, assistant principals Lea Johnson and Niki Peel and THS Career/Technical Center director Evet Topp.
The district is still in the process of selecting a new principal for Rankin Elementary, but three finalists have been identified from a field of 22 applicants, and Shaver is set to begin interviewing them.
The district would like to be able to announce a new principal for that position in early July, Shaver said.
Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@djournal.com.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal