That community became fractured following Mac Curlee retired in December following more that 14 years as principal at the school.
Glenda Scott was named interim principal in January and entered with an impressive resume after helping Rankin Elementary win a National Blue Ribbon award in September.
But Scott angered many parents and students when she implemented a rule that required students who were tardy for class to spend the rest of that period in detention. Last week, she asked to be reassigned within the district and was named Director of Curriculum Alignment.
Assistant Principal Lee Stratton is handling the school's day-to-day operations until a leader is selected.
The district will use a search firm to conduct a national search for that new principal, and community feedback will be a major part of the process. A survey posted at www.tupeloschools.com allows participants to rank the qualities that they feel are important in a Tupelo principal. The district will hold focus groups with students, parents and community members to get more ideas from stakeholders.
When the search firm picks the finalists for the job, a 20- to 25-member community advisory committee will interview the candidates and choose the one it likes best.
The high amount of community input, and the large number of groups that will be represented, should mean that the new administrator will be a good long-term fit. The district's showcase school does not need to go through another year with three leaders.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Randy Shaver said the need for a Director of Curriculum Alignment was revealed by the district's curriculum audit.
He said there were already plans to create the position before Scott's reassignment and that the position was not created for her. But he said she is a good fit.
"It is not something specifically designed for Glenda Scott," Shaver said. "It is something I was going to recommend because the curriculum audit recommended we needed a dedicated position to align curriculum and instruction."
Scott will analyze the district's written curriculum and make sure it is consistent from grade to grade and from school to school. She'll study data and she'll observe teachers to see what is being taught in the classroom.
Shaver said that in an ideal world, he'd be able to have a second director of curriculum alignment for sixth- to 12th-grade schools but that Scott may have to do it for both elementary and secondary schools.
Scott's salary for this year will be paid from money the district received in a settlement with Microsoft.
Shaver said other central office positions might also be reorganized to correct inefficiencies revealed by the audit. A revised organizational structure will be rolled out in June or July.
By that time, Tupelo High School could also have a new principal with strong community support.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or email@example.com.