Sherman principal to say goodbye

Published 10:41 am Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ray Hume makes his way down a student-lined hallway Wednesday in Sherman Avenue Elementary.

Ray Hume makes his way down a student-lined hallway Wednesday in Sherman Avenue Elementary.

Hume retiring after 26 years at VWSD

After more than 26 years as an educator in the Vicksburg Warren School District, Ray Hume, principal of Sherman Avenue Elementary, is retiring.

“We’re going to miss his presence very much,” said Sherman LEAD teacher Cheryl Ricks. “As a principal, he makes you feel very secure.”

Hume, who started at Warren Central as a U.S. history teacher and assistant soccer coach, said there was not one particular reason that he was retiring.

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“I decided a while back that I would retire,” he said. “It’s really a combination of multiple factors.”

Before becoming principal at Sherman Avenue, Hume spent five years as the principal at Warrenton Elementary, six years as the principal at Vicksburg Junior High School and the preceding five years as an assistant at VJHS.

Ricks, who has been at Sherman Avenue since 2009, said Hume is particularly skilled at using teachers’ individualized skills to improving the school as a whole.

“He is very capable and knowledgeable about how to run a school, look at the data and determine what is the best course of action,” Ricks said. “He empowers us to do what we’re supposed to do.”

District Superintendent Chad Shealy said one of Hume’s best qualities as an administrator is his leadership.

“He has a wonderful way of drawing people to a common goal,” Shealy said. “One of the best litmus tests of a leader is how many people are behind him.”

Ricks echoed Shealy’s sentiments, saying that Hume

“It is very much a team-oriented approach to education,” she said. “Of course, he has the final decision, but he always tries to get consensus.”

Third-grade teacher Nancy Hicks started teaching at Sherman in 2001 and saw a change in the atmosphere of the school shortly after Hume arrived.

“Mr. Hume came in and had high expectations,” she said. “He expected you to do your job, but he made it fun.”

For Hume, empowering teachers is central to his educational philosophy.

“My general philosophy is that I’m primarily a support person,” he said. “All of our teachers, they’re very highly qualified and motivated. I need to provide them with the resources, technology and other interventions; and I also need to get them the training and professional development that they need.”

While some administrators may stay behind a desk most days, Hicks said Hume could regularly be found in the halls, greeting children and staff members.

“He is out there every morning,” she said. “The children love him.”

Students celebrate Ray Hume Wednesday in Sherman Avenue Elementary.

Students celebrate Ray Hume Wednesday in Sherman Avenue Elementary.

Ultimately, Shealy said, that is one factor that made Hume such a valuable administrator in the VWSD.

“It is apparent that he loves his staff and he loves his children,” Shealy said. “He’s just a wonderful educator.”

Hume said he expects that his successor, Curtis Ross, will continue improving Sherman.

“I absolutely think that when I was moved to Sherman, it was purposeful about wanting my leadership style to be what was going to do some turning things around here,” he said. “I think quite honestly the person that was recommended and hired to take my place has a very similar leadership style. I’m hopeful and optimistic that the best days for Sherman Ave are still ahead.”

Ross, 42, was previously an administrator in the Claiborne County School District.

Though Hume may not be in the hallway every morning starting in the fall, Hicks said she doubts that this May will be the last time Hume provides support and advice for her.

“I won’t miss anything. I’ll still call him at home,” she said while laughing.