Next Year Marks Retirement Time For Superintendent

Board President Also Announces He Will Not Seek Another Term

By David Howell
Editor

WATER VALLEY – Leadership changes are around the corner at the Water Valley School District after longtime Superintendent Sammy Higdon announced Monday night that the coming school year would be his last. The announcement, which came via a resignation letter, was given to the Herald at the “first Monday” school board meeting on March 2. Higdon’s last day will be June 30, 2010.

    In a second announcement, Board President Ray Hawkins also said he would not seek re-election.

    “I have spent 25 years as a principal and superintendent of this district,” Higdon’s letter stated. “It is now time for me to move on to other opportunities.”

    Higdon told the Herald that he had initially considered retiring after this school year, but delayed his decision for a year after Assistant Superintendent Anthony Barnes passed away last year.

    His announcement also follows a strained budget year and tougher testing standards implemented with the state’s new Mississippi Curriculum Test II and Subject Area Tests.  The superintendent stressed that his successor will find the school on solid financial footing.

    “They will not wake up at night and worry like I have,” Higdon said about his successor, referring to recent tight budget years as the district has not seen an increase in the number of students or an increase in tax growth. Although painful, Higdon stressed that reducing the school’s budget by almost $500,000 will be beneficial for the school district long term.

    “It is a budget for the future,” Higdon said, but added that eliminating jobs in the school district as part of the budget cut was “the most difficult decision that I have made while working here.”

 Hawkins has served on the school board for 10 years, with the last six as board president. His term ends Dec. 31, 2009.

    “His leadership is one of the major reasons our district has been successful,” Higdon said about Hawkins.

    Potential candidates can qualify for Hawkin’s seat beginning August 5 and continuing through September 4. An election will be held on November 3.

    Other business conducted at the meeting by board members include:

    • Approved a recommendation from Higdon to transfer the duties and responsibilities of coaching assignments and coaching evaluations, as well as anything related to athletics in the Water Valley School District, to Trey Allman effective July 1.    

    Currently Athletic Director Chick Drewery is responsible for athletics, a position that has come with extra money.

    • Approved the 2009/2010 school year calendar. Water Valley High School Principal Glenn Kitchens told board members the only major change was the school start date for the coming year, which is Aug. 10.

    • Delayed the next school board meeting from March 16 to March 23 due to spring break.    

    • Approved the personnel recommendations for the coming school year.

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