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Volume 41, No. 6 • May / June 2013

Policies being updated for 2013-14


8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; 8:00 a.m. 12:30 p.m. - MSBA Basic Course, Eagle Ridge / Hinds Community College. LAST CHANCE to take the required New Member Basic Course this School Year!

he staff at MSBA is working to revise some policies and to create others that Mississippi school boards will need to adopt for the 2013-14 school year as the result of the 2013 Mississippi Legislative Session, new state and federal guidelines, and/or court rulings. The policies will automatically be updated sometime this summer for the school districts that have the MSBA O-Policy Service. Other school districts will be able to purchase revised / new policies on CD in late summer. Many of the changes resulting from state legislation, court rulings and other factors were discussed in detail at the April 29-30 MSBA Legislative Update & School Law Review, co-sponsored by MSBA and the MSBA Council of School Board Attorneys (CSBA). For more information, contact Denotris Jackson, MSBA Director of Policy / Advocacy, toll free, 888.367.6722 or

Register for Online Class: The Board’s Role in Improving Student Achievement, Parts I & II. LAST CHANCE to earn staterequired six (6) hours of Board Member Training for the 201213 School Year: 9:00 a.m. 12:00 noon MSBA Center for Board Development (CBD) Training / CLINTON: Determining Success, Mississippi High School Activities Association 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - CBD Training / CLINTON: The Board’s Role in State Accreditation, Mississippi High School Activities Association


The statewide AABC (Administrative Assistants / Board Clerks) Conference on May 6-7 was a great success.


Three board members in the state have been appointed to fill vacancies on the MSBA Board of Directors.


MSBA will conduct a superintendent search for the Vicksburg Warren School District, with posting to the MSBA website expected by June 24.


Beginning on this page, see the first graduates of the MSBA Prospective Superintendent Leadership Academy.

Discussion of the impact of the 2013 Mississippi Legislative Session was a main focal point of the April 29-30 Legislative Update & School Law Review, cosponsored by MSBA and the MSBA Council of School Board Attorneys. An eightperson panel (above) drew a number of questions following the session. Other matters included cautions in entering construction contracts, discussed by Atty. Dorian Turner (right photo).

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A national news organization has ranked the state’s top high schools. Hancock County High School Teacher Joshua Lindsey is Mississippi’s Teacher of the Year. He was one of four finalists for the honor.





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2 • MSBA Update • May / June 2013



Hancock Co.’s Lindsey is state’s top teacher

The Update is published bimonthly as a resource for school board members and administrators throughout Mississippi. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Michael W. Waldrop, Ph.D. Executive Director Denotris Jackson Director of Policy / Advocacy B. Anne Lovelady Director of Board Development Linda Buford-Burks Director of Communications Darla J. Warren Business Manager Anissa Young, CSRM Insurance Program Manager Paul Chamblee Risk Management Specialist Alexis Cole Marketing Representative / Policy Support Specialist Rose Regina Financial Assistant April Mills Executive Assistant Stephanie Wells Receptionist John T. Mandeville Business Development / Marketing 225-953-1124 / Jim Keith, J.D. General Counsel Dr. E. Harold Fisher Superintendent Search Consultant


oshua Lindsey, Hancock High School English teacher, is the 2013 Mississippi Teacher of the Year (MTOY). The news came at an April Lindsey 16 Mississippi Teacher of the Year Luncheon, hosted by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). Selected from among four congressional district finalists, Lindsey will receive a one-time $5,000 salary supplement funded by the Mississippi Legislature and will represent Mississippi in the National Teacher of the Year competition. He will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and will participate in a Rose Garden National Teacher of the Year recognition ceremony at the White House. Lindsey, a teacher for 11 years, taught at Hancock Middle School for five years before coming to the high school in 2011. Other finalists for the MTOY competition also were recognized at the MDE Luncheon: Kathy Farmer, selected the 2013 Mississippi Alternate Teacher of the Year, is a government, economics, psychology, history and sociology teacher in the Scott County

School District. Tara Harris is a second and third grade gifted education teacher in the Tupelo Public School District. National Board Certified, Harris has been in the classroom nearly 14 years. Gwendolyn Milton teaches personal finance and entrepreneurship at Gentry High School in the Indianola School District, where she has taught for three years. Office manager at the school for 20 years before deciding to become a teacher, Milton entered the profession through an alternate route teaching program and has completed the requirements to receive the Master Teacher of Economics endorsement and the Master of Arts Teaching degree in secondary education. Congratulations to Lindsey, his school, and the entire leadership team of Hancock County School District! Board members are Dr. Jennifer Seal, president, Rose Acker, Richard Loper, Patti Stennett and William Thomas. Alan Dedeaux is the district superintendent. Congratulations also is extended to all finalists! EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is edited from a news release by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).

Mississippi School Boards Association

489 Springridge Road • P. O. Box 203 • Clinton, MS 39060 (601) 924-2001 • Fax: (601) 924-2003 • Toll Free: (888) 367-6722


The mission of the Mississippi School Boards Association is to ensure quality school board performance through advocacy, technical assistance, board development and information dissemination.


At MSBA, we are: • Honest • Promise Keepers • Membership Service Focused • Seekers of Perfection

CREDITS: Some items in this issue may have come from resources outside MSBA’s organization. Regular columns using outside resources include: Technicalities, compiled from a newsletter of the same name from State Auditor Stacey Pickering’s Office; AG’s Opinions, from Attorney General Jim Hood’s Office; and, Ethics Opinions, from the Mississippi Ethics Commission - Tom Hood, Executive Director. Additionally, MSBA uses news items from the Mississippi Department of Education or those submitted by school districts. MSBA Update • May / June 2013 • 3

An Opportunity for Businesses to Join in Support of Better School Governance and Higher Student Achievement Affiliate Members

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Contact Darla Warren at MSBA today about making the right connections. BoardBook is MSBA’s paperless solution for effective board meetings. 888-367-6722 4 • MSBA Update • May / June 2013

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE & SCHOOL LAW REVIEW MSBA Executive Director Michael Waldrop (right) discusses the impact of education legislation passed by the 2013 Mississippi Legislature, including the state’s new law on religious freedoms. MSBA Counsel Jim Keith (not pictured) and Pete Smith (left), MDE Bureau Manager for Legislative Services, joined Waldrop on the three-person panel. (See more photos from the Legislative Update / School Law Review on page 1 and the next page)


from the State Auditor’s Office Policy References, where applicable, are in blue. Is it a violation of the Open Meetings Act for a committee to enter into executive session in order to keep drug rebate information confidential and still encourage open discussion among the committee members without public participation? Federal law requires that certain information received through specific channels be confidential. Section 25-41-7 sets out twelve (12) specific exemptions to the Open Meetings Act and mandates that executive sessions be limited to only those exceptions.  The Open Meetings Act does not allow for executive session under the facts presented.  To comply with federal confidentiality laws, we can only suggest that the committee attempt to structure its discussions in public meetings in such a manner as to not disclose the specific information required to be kept confidential.  (Attorney General’s Opinion to Dzielak, March 1, 2013) BCBK If two bidders submit identical low bids on a construction project, and in the opinion of the school board both are equally qualified to do the construction work, can the board, in its discretion, request additional written sealed bids from the two low bidders to determine the successful bidder? No.  The school district may not request additional sealed bids, even when the bids are identical and considered “equal” by the public entity.  Pursuant to Section 31-7-13, if the school district determines, after careful scrutiny of the bids on both amount and quality, that there is still no “best bid,” it will be required to reject all bids and begin the process anew, until it can decide on a “lowest and best bidder.”  (Attorney General’s Opinion to Price, March 22, 2013) DJED  Can a school district structure a principal’s salary so that they would receive greater pay than other principals in the district if their school has a higher number of students qualified for free and reduced lunch?  Also, may a district provide additional pay to teachers who agree to stay for five consecutive years at a school that has a higher number of students qualified for free and reduced lunch? Under its ”home rule” authority, a school board may use National School Lunch Program data in setting salaries for principals and teachers as long as the school board complies with applicable federal laws and regulations.  (Attorney General’s Opinion to Treadway, April 1, 2013) ABBA, GBA

Legislative Update Panelists Laurie Smith, Kelly Riley and Nancy Loome, and MSBA President Bobby Gault listen as Hancock County Board President Sherry Ponder (photo at left) provides her perspective on the future of Mississippi Education. Smith is Governor Phil Bryant’s Education Advisor; Riley heads Mississippi Professional Educators (MPE); and, Loome leads The Parents’ Campaign. Each panelist had a turn to share her views about the state’s education future at the April 30 session.

Report ranks state’s top high schools


our Mississippi high schools have earned silver and six others have earned bronze medals in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Best High Schools report released on April 22. Those earning silver medals and ranked as the top high schools in Mississippi (from the highest ranking) are Pass Christian High, Pass Christian School District; Oak Grove High, Lamar County School District; Petal High, Petal School District; and, Pelahatchie Attendance Center, Rankin County School District. U.S. News recognized the following districts (alphabetically) with a national bronze medal: Amite County High, Amite County School District; Bassfield High, Jefferson Davis County School District; Bay Springs High, West Jasper Consolidated School District; Belmont High, Tishomingo County School District; Biggersville High, Alcorn School District; and, Blue Mountain High, South Tippah School District. Only districts earning gold or silver medals receive a state ranking in the U.S. News & World Report. A national news organization since 1933, U. S. News & World Report researchers scrutinized more than 21,000 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia before gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded, using state proficiency standards and college readiness as parameters. MSBA extends congratulations to all districts recognized with silver and bronze medals! The board members and superintendents of districts with high schools earning silver medals and state rankings are: Pass Christian High School - Pass Christian School District: Board members Randall Dewitt, President, Margaret Jean Kalif, Walter King, Portia Stewart and Philip Terrell; and, Superintendent Beth John. Oak Grove High School - Lamar County School District: Board members Mike Pruitt, President, Kyle Hill, Steve Lampton, Craig Morris and Don Roseberry; and, Superintendent Ben Burnett. Petal High School - Petal School District: Board Members Bruce Magee, President, Stephen Estess, Andre Heath, Bob Hopkins, and Laurie Porciello; and, Superintendent John Buchanan. Pelatchie Attendance Center - Rankin County School District: Board Members Cecil McCrory, President, Ruth Burgess, David Farmer, Ann Sturdivant, and Deborah Tolleson; and, Superintendent Lynn Weathersby. To see the entire report, visit

Want an MSBA event photo?

Photos of Dr. Tom Clark (above), Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Education Initiative Consortium, after he was presented the 2013 Friend of MSBA Award at the 41st Annual Conference in February are among a large gallery of photos documenting MSBA’s seminars and events this school year. Dr. Clark earned the 2013 Friend of MSBA Award in recognition of his ongoing support and collaboration that help promote the mission and goals of MSBA. To find various other awards photos as well as general photos of participants, presenters and speakers at MSBA events: 1. Visit the MSBA website. 2. Click on “Conferences” from the menu at the top of the screen. 3. Select “Awards Photos” or “General Photos” to review and download a wide range of event photos. Contact MSBA toll free if you have difficulty reviewing or downloading photos: 888.367.6722.

Have you Earned Your Hours?

Every school board member in Mississippi is required to earn at least six hours of training in any given school year: 12 hours if you are a new board member, and six for all others. The last opportunity to get six training hours is June 29 (SEE Upcoming Events on front page). MSBA Update • May / June 2013 • 5



Watson joins new district as asst. superintendent

PSLA graduate Larry Watson will be an assistant superintendent in the Montgomery County School District, effective July 1. He currently serves as federal programs director in the Winona School District. Congratulations!

6 • MSBA Update • May / June 2013

he MSBA Prospective Superintendent Leadership Academy (PSLA) has successfully concluded its first year, with 22 administrators from 17 school districts completing PSLA requirements. Each was awarded a Certificate of Completion during the last class meeting on April 18. “This inaugural class is an impressive group of future leaders in our state,” said Dr. Mike Waldrop, MSBA Executive Director.  He added that “The next class has a high benchmark to strive for, but we know they will be up to the challenge.” “We could not be more pleased with the educational excellence and professional qualities exhibited by the Academy members,” said Denotris Jackson, MSBA Director of Policy / Advocacy and PSLA Advisor.  “We are grateful for what they, along with the faculty, contributed to each class session,” she added.   The MSBA Prospective Superintendent Leadership Academy is a professional development program designed to prepare potential candidates for the challenging position of superintendent in Mississippi’s public schools.  The Academy provides a minimum of thirty (30) hours of intensive study in the areas of the superintendent’s role; legal issues; state accountability and accreditation; ethics law; school board meetings; data-based decision making; school finance and insurance; personnel, community relations; team building; and governing by policy. Dates for the next PSLA will be announced over the summer.

Dr. Robin Ballard, Asst. Superintendent Lowndes County

C. Jermaine Brown, Director, Student Services - Biloxi

Dr. Deadra Cassell Director, Curriculum, Prof. Dev. - W. Jasper

Bernard S. Chandler Dr. Debra Dace Superintendent Curriculum / Testing Tunica County Coord. - Tunica County

Dexter T. Green Superintendent Okolona

Dr. Toriano Holloway Asst. Superintendent Starkville

Vikki Landry Dr. June B. Leigh Dr. Wendy McCullough Dr. Karen Norwood Federal Programs Dir. Director, Curriculum / Adjunct Prof. - East MS Asst. Superintendent - Bay St. Louis Prof. Dev. - Aberdeen Comm. College Biloxi

Dr. Alan Oubre, Exec. Dir., Student Support - Hattiesburg

Dr. Eddie J. Peasant, Principal - Clinton

Dr. Dorothy Prestwich, Asst. Superintendent Clarksdale

Christine D. Spinks, Asst. Superintendent Long Beach

Larry H. Watson, Dir. Dr. Christopher J. Dr. Janice Wilson, of Federal Programs, Williams, Sr., newly Assistant SPED - Winona appointed Asst. Supt. - Superintendent - Biloxi Ocean Springs

Dr. Jason Sargent, Exec. Director, Office of REA* - Jackson

Dr. Valarie Davis Principal Coahoma County

Craig A. Shannon, Dr. Loretta Shird, Deputy Superintendent Coordinator of Federal - Columbus Programs - Okolona

*Research, Evaluation & Assessment

MSBA Update • May / June 2013 • 7

DID YOU KNOW? Mississippi Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 13-024-E, rendered March 8, 2013, addresses whether a school board member is violating ethics law if he / she has an interest in a sixteenth section lease where:


• the original 99-year lease was entered between 1940 and 1960 • the original lease was authorized before the school board member began service on the board, and • the school board will not be required to take any action concerning the lease during the board member’s term or for one year after the board member’s term

Vicksburg-Warren School District Vicksburg, Mississippi June 24 - Tentative Posting Date of Announcement Brochure, Application to MSBA website,

ETHICS OPINION: If the school board will not be required to take any action that would have the effect of authorizing the school board member’s interest in the lease, no violation of Section 109, Miss. Const. of 1890, or Section 25-4-105(2), Miss. Code of 1972, should occur. Additionally, the school board member or a school district employee must recuse himself or herself from any matter coming before the school district concerning his or her own lease. Because neither the school board member nor the school district employee is serving as a contractor to the school district, no violation of Section 25-4-105(3) (a) should occur. - Mississippi Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 13-024-E, March 8, 2013

SEARCHES BY OTHER SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATIONS Cullman City School System Cullman City, Alabama Application Deadline: June 7, 2013 This search is being conducted by the Alabama Association of School Boards. The 3000-student, award-winning, top performing school system was the first in Alabama to adopt a one-to-one computer laptop initiative (2006), providing laptops and wireless worldwide web access to students and employees. For more information, contact Dr. Kendy Behrends at (256) 335-6469 or

Don’t wait too late. Register Now. JBHM LLC

8 • MSBA Update • May / June 2013

Members recently appointed to the MSBA Board of Directors: (l to right) Randall Dewitt, Jesse King, and Elizabeth Stone.

3 MSBA Board vacancies filled


ass Christian Board President Randall Dewitt, Greenville Board Member Jesse King, and Tupelo Board President Elizabeth Stone have been appointed to temporarily fill vacancies on the MSBA Board of Directors. The three will serve until the next meeting of the MSBA Delegates Assembly, set for November 12 during MSBA’s Fall Leadership Conference. The vacancies occurred when former directors were not re-elected / re-appointed to their school boards. The board members have been appointed to represent Congressional District 4 - Dewitt; Congressional District 2 - King; and, Congressional District 1 - Stone. MSBA bylaws allow the association’s president to temporarily fill vacancies, giving the membership a chance to vote on permanent replacements at the next Delegates Assembly. The next meeting of the MSBA Board of Directors will be in July. Dewitt has been a member of the Pass Christian School Board of Trustees for four terms, currently serving as board president. A retired accountant, he works part-time as a teacher and coach at Hancock High School during baseball season. Dewitt is a strong supporter of military veterans, delivering speeches annually at schools and various community forums. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign War, and the American Legion. He is an alumnus of the University of Maryland, Georgia State University and

the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Dewitt and his wife Phyllis have four grown sons, two of them teachers. King, school board member in the Greenville School District since March 2011, also is superintendent of the North Bolivar School District. Prior to becoming North Bolivar’s superintendent, he was federal programs director in the Leland School District. King, also a former high school principal in the Leland district, earned the Master of Secondary Education degree from Delta State University and an undergraduate degree from Mississippi Valley State University. In addition to being a board member and superintendent, King also pastors Greater St. Peter Baptist Church in Greenville and serves on the Board of Directors of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) in Little Rock, Arkansas. He and wife Sandra have four grown daughters and a son, who is in college. Stone is serving her fourth year on the Tupelo School District Board of Trustees. She has previously served as vice president and secretary. A graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in education, Stone earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After spending 10 years teaching high school chemistry and physics, she now is an active volunteer in her community, where she has served as PTO president, Junior Auxiliary School Aid Chairman, and the Association for Excellence in Education grants chair.

2013 Honors Program Correction

Hazel Brooks-Johnson, former board member in the Noxubee County School District, was inadvertently left off the listing of honorees in the 2013 CBD Honors Program. She earned Master Circle, for 27 hours of board development training in 2011-12.

2013-14 NEED-TO-KNOW: • Board Development Schedule • Policy Changes • Student Progress • District Budget Status

New Board Members: Last training opp in June

June 21-22 is the last opportunity this school year for new school board members to take the 12-hour Basic Course of Instruction, mandated by state law for all newly appointed and elected school board members. State law gives board members six (6) months from their election / appointment to take the Basic Course. As required by MS Code Section 37-7-306, new school board members must complete the Basic Course within six months of their election / appointment to the school board. Failure to do so could result in removal from office. To receive credit, new board members must attend both days of the two-day course set for June 21-22. The schedule begins on Friday, June 21 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and continues Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. There is no charge for the Basic Course for new board members, but board members must pre-register. Districts are responsible for board member meals and lodging. Registration is available online at MSBA Update • May / June 2013 • 9

At the 9th Annual AABC (Administrative Assistants / Board Clerks) Conference in Ridgeland on May 6-7, AABC officers and board members took time for a photo: Seated right to left: President LeeAnn Dubaz - Biloxi, Vice President LaTeasha Blackmon - Oxford, Secretary Marie Souza - Jackson County, Past President Betty Jones - Cleveland; Standing right to left: Debbie Scire – Starkville, Pam Meadows – Clinton, Johnette Brock – Walthall County, Vickie Harris – Lafayette County and Cassie Turner – North Bolivar.

10 • MSBA Update • May / June 2013

ON THIS PAGE: A few photo highlights from the May 6-7 AABC Conference in Ridgeland.

Pete Smith, Miss. Dept. of Education

Chris Graham, Miss. Ethics Commission

MSBA’s Denotris Jackson, Director of Policy / Advocacy

Our Core Value..... Integrity/Honesty Knowledge Experience PERFORMANCE Results

AABC President LeeAnn Dubaz

Barbie Bassett, Author / TV Meteorologist

Clinton Schools’ Technology Director Kameron Ball

Performance Based Education Company Contact Us.... Don Evans, President

Phone: (601) 573-1401 Email:

Steve Montgomery, Marketing

Bill Wade, Marketing

Phone: (601) 562-4906 Phone: (662) 295-6176 Email: Email: MSBA Update • May / June 2013 • 11

MSBA Board of Directors OFFICERS President Bobby Gault New Albany

DIRECTORS DISTRICT 1 (2011-13) David Duncan South Tippah

Vice President James Stubbs Long Beach

Steven Dodd DeSoto County

Secretary-Treasurer Etta Taplin North Pike Immediate Past President Miranda Beard Laurel

Elizabeth Stone Tupelo DISTRICT 2 (2012-14) Leroy Matthews Quitman County

DISTRICT 3 (2011-13) Lucius Lampton South Pike Sondra Odom Pearl Von Norwood Jeff Davis County DISTRICT 4 (2012-14) Annie Chapman Hattiesburg

Marilyn Young Tunica County Jesse King Greenville

Presidential Appointees (Serve during the President’s 1-year term) Glenda Barrett Newton County

Scott Bryan Lawrence County

Biloxi | Columbus | Jackson | Tupelo

12 • MSBA Update • May / June 2013

Mindy Brand Amory

Bobbie Whitfield East Jasper Randall Dewitt Pass Christian MASBO REP. Sandy Halliwell Clinton - Ex Officio Lygunnah Bean South Panola

2013 May-June Update  
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