August 8, 2014 11:53:32 AM
Appreciates opportunity to lead school district
As a new school year begins, I want to express my thanks for having had an opportunity to work with the Columbus Municipal School District as interim superintendent in 2013-2014. As the year began last year, Columbus Municipal School District was facing challenges.
When I was appointed in June, 2013 starting the year smoothly in only eight weeks seemed impossible. The district was facing a host of serious problems, not the least of which, a projected graduation rate for the class of 2013 of 63% and the perception of complete disarray within the community,
The district was blessed with an excellent district management team made up of Craig Shannon, Anthony Brown, Pamela Lenoir, Nancy Bragg and Beth Tippett. To these dedicated individuals, I offer my gratitude. Principals, academic coaches, supervisors, teachers, assistant teachers, support staff, parents and supportive members of the community also made a difference. The year began smoothly. Teachers never missed a step and students began the year receiving the appropriate instruction.
We achieved what I, at first, thought was next to impossible. We developed a $42 million budget in approximately six weeks; addressed and passed every Mississippi Department of Education audit exception, resulting in an "Accredited Status"; with teacher input, developed an up-to-date instructional management plan based on the required Common Core State Standards and assessment.
... Counselors and high school staff were given mentoring and training enabling them to identify students in the class of 2014 who would not graduation without intervention, resulting in the graduation rate increasing from a projected 63% for the class of 2013 to a projected 70% for the class of 2014.
As was my goal when I started last year, I wanted to provide stability, focus and contribute to student achievement. I am proud to have served with dedicated administrators and educators, to have made a difference for so many children, and to have begun the process of restoring pride in our school in such a manner that it adds value to our community for all of us.
I wish Dr. Hickman, the district management team, principals, academic coaches, supervisors, teachers, assistant teachers, support staff, parents and supportive members of the community the very best of luck as they continue this process. Columbus must and can have an excellent public school district that adds value to our community and provides our students an opportunity in life. We should all work to have that happen.
Edna Crossley McGill
The writer, a longtime educator and most recently interim superintendent for the Columbus Municipal School District, is retired.