My predecessor and friend, Mr. Richard Fleming, served a few years ago as the President of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents (MASS). In his address to the Superintendents across the state he encouraged each person to build upon their strengths in order to achieve more. He gave them all a simple quote that I shall never forget “It’s a sad frog that won’t croak in his own pond.” His words were true then and they are true now.
Let me tell you why I am “croaking” about our students and teachers in Greene County.
For the past four years the Greene County School District has had its highest ratings ever, holding a “B” for each of those years. This year we are able to say once again that we have obtained our highest rating ever. We came up 16 points last year and rose another 16 points this year to our highest total ever of 635.
The GCSD rates higher than any other school district surrounding it, including George County who scored a 634. While we may have come up short on the field this year, we certainly proved who the real GC is when it comes to our academics.
Our schools have continued to grow and meet or surpass expectations. This year Leakesville Elementary earned an “A”, McLain earned a “B”, GCHS earned a “B”, Sand Hill improved to a very high “C” (only 4 points from a B), and LJHS maintained a C rating. We are pushing forward to our goal of all schools being an “A” or “B” rated school.
As I travel around the state I am often honored when other Superintendents ask me how we achieve our success. They want to know how we achieve so much with so little. They want to know what program and/or methods we use. It always gives me a great sense of pride to let them know that the answer is actually very simple. They are often surprised when I inform them that we don’t have a magical program or method, it’s not because of an abundance of technology or resources, or anything else. Our success is simply found in our people. We have quality faculty/staff, dedicated students, concerned parents and a supportive community.
We have quality teachers in the classroom who give our students 100 percent every day. They set high expectations for our students, not to make things harder than they should be, but because they know our students are capable of rising to meet those expectations.
We have increased our rigor and the students have met that challenge. Our students are dedicated, respectful and overall good kids. I cannot express enough what wonderful children we have in our district. Our discipline issues are small and rare compared to other districts.
We have parents who want the best for their children. They are involved and respond when they are called upon. Our community supports our kids in everything they do. Whether it is showing up for a Veteran’s Day Program, purchasing ads or doughnuts for athletic teams, providing supplies for students, or even holding prayer walks to lift up our students and teachers.
We also have great administrators who do the very best they can to follow federal, state and local policies to ensure that every student has access to a quality education. Their job is not an easy one. They are often in the crossfire of all that goes wrong and never get praise for the things that go right.
Today I am croaking for them. I am croaking for our teachers, parents, and all of our residents that support our great public schools. However, most of all I am croaking for our students. They are the ones that earned this great honor and I am so very proud of them.
Our district is not perfect. We always have areas we must work on and improve. Nonetheless, you have a public school system that you can be proud of and you have the accountability ratings to back it up. God has truly blessed us in Greene County and we should not take it for granted.
Let us never forget Mr. Fleming’s advice. Nobody can sell Greene County like those who know it best. Make sure you give our kids the praise they deserve. They have earned it and they deserve for us to “croak” about them from our pond to every pond in this state and in this nation.
I personally ask that you continue to praise, uplift, support, and pray for our administrators, teachers, students and parents. Your support is not just wanted, it is needed for continued success. I am very humbled, grateful and thankful for the opportunity to have served you and your children over the past four years as Superintendent. As we continue to work together I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for our children.