TUPELO – A Tupelo administrator with 50 years of experience as an educator will retire in June, and the district’s special education director is relocating.
The school district announced the pair of personnel moves after Tuesday’s School Board meeting. They include the retirement of Derwood Tutor, who has served as the only director of the Hancock Leadership Center in its 20-year history.
Meanwhile, Special Education Director Mary Ruth Wright will resign on June 30.
She said she and her husband decided it was time for new opportunities, although they have not finalized their plans. Wright is in her 11th year in the district and her 21st year as an educator.
“I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Tupelo Public School District,” Wright said. “As a Tupelo native and graduate, it was my dream to be back here. We’ve made a family decision to relocate, and it is with a heavy heart I will leave.”
Superintendent Gearl Loden said the district will immediately begin searching for her successor.
“Mrs. Wright has been a valuable asset to TPSD for over 10 years,” Loden said. “As director of special education, she has led a program serving over 1,000 students. The district thanks her and wishes her well.”
Tutor’s retirement also takes effect on June 30, which will be his 72nd birthday. He came to the Tupelo School District in 1971, spent 17 and a half years as principal of Thomas Street School and was assistant superintendent from 1989 until 1994. Prior to that, he worked in Greenville for seven years.
“I’ve worked in education a long time,” Tutor said. “It’s been my life and to a certain extent, it will be in the future. At this season in my life, I feel like I have some new goals I’d like to reach while I still have the physical capabilities to do that, and I have some things I’d like to accomplish.”
Tutor said he plans to use his time to volunteer for Harrisburg Baptist Church and Global Outreach International. He also will continue to support the school district.
He was named Mississippi School Administrator of the Year in 1977 and also won the Phil Hardin Foundation Award that year.
Loden said Tutor has been “a true asset to our district.”
“He was my mentor when I entered into administration and has always been eager to help new administrators in their career development,” Loden said.