New Grove Street principal ‘ecstatic’ over news

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 22, 2009

The new principal at Grove Street was not present as the Vicksburg Warren School Board of Trustees approved his appointment Thursday night, but was “ecstatic” to hear the news by phone.

Kelvin Wymbs, a high school principal in Florence, S.C., will move to Vicksburg around June 20 and report by July 1 to his new position, he said.

“I’m ecstatic right now,” Wymbs said shortly after learning the news. “I am really looking forward to coming to Vicksburg, Mississippi. I’ve met informally with several members at the Grove Street School and I’m impressed with their commitment to excellence.”

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Since July 2007 Wymbs has been principal of Carvers Bay High School, a school of about 500 students and 80 faculty and staff.

He takes over at Grove Street for Charlie Tolliver, who is retiring.

Grove Street is an alternative kindergarten through 12th-grade school that serves high-need, at-risk students along with some who were suspended or are under discipline from other schools. The student population varies but ranges up to about 200.

“I would say I have had some specialized experience dealing with high-priority, at-risk kids, but I dislike labels,” Wymbs said. “A school is a school. Any place I’ve been, from elementary to high school, I’ve loved working with the kids and I’m going to apply that. Above all, they gotta know we care.”

Wymbs was one of seven candidates interviewed by an eight-member search committee May 1, said Assistant Superintendent Debra Hullum. Besides six members from the school district staff, the committee included a representative from Warren County Youth Court and another from Warren-Yazoo Mental Health because of some of the problems students at Grove Street experience.

The committee developed a list of questions specific to the demands of running the school, with the same list asked of each applicant and responses rated numerically. Wymbs was overall high scorer, Hullum said.

Before his current position, Wymbs was assistant principal at North Laurinburg Elementary School in the Scotland County, N.C., School District and has extensive coaching experience in basketball and football, dating to 1988. He has a master’s degree in administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

His salary will be $67,254 annually, Price said.

Wymbs said he’s been to Vicksburg twice before, the first time when his wife, Linda, interviewed for a position as chief of nurses at River Region Medical Center. At the time, he did not know about the opening at Grove Street. She got the job, and started Monday.

The couple came back for his interview earlier this month. “We are both very excited about relocating,” Linda Wymbs said.

They have one daughter, 7.

In other school board business, a Vicksburg resident, the Rev. Troy D. Truly Sr., was announced as the 2009 Mississippi Parent of the Year, an award given by the state Department of Education. Truly’s contributions of time and service at Vicksburg Intermediate School earned him awards at the local level, the Second Congressional District and finally the statewide honor. He was selected out of hundreds of nominees, Price said.

Truly will receive the award at the State Board of Education meeting on June 15.

The board also accepted two gifts. The Vicksburg Kiwanis chapter donated two portable defibrillators to the high schools for emergencies involving students, faculty, staff or visitors. Also, Bowmar Avenue Elementary School was awarded a grant from Blue Cross-Blue Shield Project Fit for new playground equipment, installation and ground covering materials valued at nearly $25,000.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at