Ocean Springs principal will lead SHS

April 9, 2014 10:23:59 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


Starkville School District Board of Trustees unanimously hired Ocean Springs High School Principal David Baggett as Starkville High School's next top administrator. 


His salary was set at $108,000. Baggett is expected to formally start his new job July 1, but SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway said he could informally begin helping the district prior to that date. 


Under Baggett's eight-year stint as OSHS principal, the school received an A designation each year from the Mississippi Department of Education and won 16 state athletic championships. The school recorded a 221 Quality Distribution Index score and an 86 percent graduation rate in the 2012-2013 academic year. 


"Mr. Baggett's track record of excellence with proven strategies, his excitement about our strengths and his willingness to address our areas for growth head on in the interview really impressed the (search) committee," said SSD Assistant Superintendent Jody Woodrum in a release. "We could not help being drawn to his high-energy style, seeing his no-nonsense expertise and engaging personality as real positives as we continually strive to achieve higher and higher levels of excellence at SHS." 


"(He) is an experienced building-level administrator of large high school, and he is a proven instructional leader capable of taking SHS to the next level," Holloway added. 


Baggett received a bachelor's degree in education from Mississippi State University and a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Mississippi. He is currently working on a doctorate of organizational leadership from the Florida-based Nova Southeast University. 


Before moving to his current position, Baggett previously served as an assistant principal at St. Martin High School, Ocean Springs Middle School and OSHS. 


"It's a great opportunity for me. I just felt like I had the skill set and experience to help them during a time of transition," Baggett told the Mississippi Press in reference to Oktibbeha County's upcoming school consolidation. 


A 13-person search committee was formed after former SHS Principal Keith Fennell left SSD in February for a position as Jackson State University's director of student academic services. The committee, comprised of administrative, educational and student representatives, whittled down a list of 29 applicants to six finalists. 


After a two-hour interview process, candidates were then subjected to a written component analyzing high school test scores and projections. 


Baggett demonstrated in-depth knowledge about Common Core Standards, advanced placement courses, special education and consolidation, a SSD release states. He identified improving the district's graduation rate as his top priority during the interview. 


Jennifer Baggett, his wife, was also hired as an Armstrong Middle School English teacher Tuesday. 


Together, the couple has four children. 


Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch