Candidates’ names for Laurel superintendent revealed

Stone County QB Enrique Whaley tries to get to the edge in front of West Jones defensive back Tymko Foster in the Tomcats 24-14 victory over the Mustangs in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs on Friday night. (Photo Josh Nichols)

Interviews for as many as eight candidates for the Laurel School District superintendent are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

District spokeswoman Lacey Walters-Slay said Monday morning the names of the candidates had not been made public yet because all eight hadn’t agreed to the public interview.

Residents have until noon today (Tuesday) to submit questions for consideration to be asked of the candidates. Questions should be emailed to lwalters@laurelschools.org. Emails must include the name and address of person submitting the questions.

Board President Miranda Beard said that due to the interview time frame, those who attend the open interviews will not be allowed to ask questions. The board will review the submitted questions and choose those most appropriate. All submitted questions must include name and address. Anonymous questions will not be accepted.

The candidates and interview times are:

• Thursday, 10 a.m.: Stephanie Brewer, district mathematics curriculum specialist, Harrison County School District

• Thursday, 11 a.m.: Jeannine Agee, Laurel High School principal

• Thursday, 2 p.m.: Kenda Covington, assistant superintendent for curriculum and federal programs

• Thursday, 3 p.m.: Dr. Joe Nelson, Pass Christian Middle School principal

• Friday, 11 a.m.: Dr. Donna Ray Hill, education consultant, BRP Associates, LLC

• Friday 2 p.m.: Dane Aube, Corinth Academy and Performing Arts High School principal

• Friday, 3 p.m.: Tito Lanier, Oak Park Elementary School principal

Among the applicants were seven principals, four curriculum directors, four assistant superintendents and seven former superintendents, with applications received from residents of Mississippi, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

The next superintendent will supplant Dr. Chuck Benigno, who has been over the district since 2010. He accepted a teaching position at William Carey University and his last day will be Dec. 31.

Benigno is one of the highest-paid administrators in the state with an annual salary of $179,000. He had overseen a district that most recently rated as a B school in a complex assessment by the Mississippi Department of Education.

“I am absolutely thrilled to see Laurel High School receive a ‘B’ ranking from MDE for their 2017 accountability score,” Benigno said. “This is a wonderful testament to the hard work of our teachers, administrators and staff who continue to believe in our students and push them toward academic excellence.”

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