Leaders hired specifically to build schools up

Published 1:37 am Sunday, March 25, 2012

First, thank you for this past Sunday’s editorial on the critical role of parents in the continued process of their children’s education. We are fortunate to have many parents who are very actively involved not only in their own children’s education, but also throughout their children’s schools.

Still, the reality is that we do have far too many parents who, for whatever reason, choose to distance themselves from their children’s learning and/or behavior. In some instances their rationale is simply that all areas of education, including character education, are the schools’ responsibility.

We in the schools would respond that we could do so very much more for every child if we could agree to share the load through open dialogue and regular communication.

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Second, with regard to your recent three-part series on the Vicksburg Warren School District, it troubles me to see our district level administrators put on the defensive about their efforts to elevate our school district, for whom I have worked the past 24 years. Because so many of us have received all of our training within this district, it was in my opinion a very wise decision on the part of the School Board of Trustees to go outside our district and state to hire both Dr. Swinford as superintendent and Ms. Johnson as assistant superintendent.

These two individuals were hired specifically to move our district up. It would be naive of anyone to think this was possible without new ideas, different strategies, and at least initially increased workloads. Has this been stressful? Yes. Has this been time-consuming? Yes. Has this at times been too much too fast? Perhaps. Has this been necessary to lift us up to where we all want to be as a district? Absolutely!

I have frequently joked with Ms. Johnson and told her that my job, already a difficult one, had become twice as difficult since her arrival. But if my work has been twice as hard, I am certain my productivity and knowledge as an instructional leader have at least tripled.

At Sherman Avenue, as at many schools, we frequently point out that, “it is what it is.” I am truly blessed to have a faculty and staff who have risen to the task at hand, and in this case we have recognized that “what it is” is the best hope for the future of the youths of Vicksburg and Warren County.

Ray Hume, principal

Sherman Avenue Elementary