School board, board member receives state recognition

Published 10:25 am Monday, January 2, 2017

The Vicksburg Warren County School Board and District 2 member Alonzo Stevens were recently honored by the state for their contributions to the local school system.

The Mississippi School Board Association bestowed these honors to the local board and district communications director and media specialist Christi Kilroy presented the awards to the board during the December board meeting.

The board as a whole was given the Board of Merit Award for the second year in a row. The award recognizes the board for completing 100 or more Mississippi School Board Association approved training hours during the school year.

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“We don’t know how many hours beyond that 100 that they went, but I’m telling you, I know the time they put in, just at the meetings is incredible, but all the preparation work that they do and all the time they spend in our schools and in our community is incredible,” Kilroy said.

Superintendent Chad Shealy said the school district has the best board in the state of Mississippi.

“Our board doesn’t get a lot of the credit it deserves sometimes,” Shealy said.

Also for the second year in a row, district 2 board member Alonzo Stevens was awarded the John L. Hartman Memorial Award. Stevens was given the award for being the board member with the highest number of school board approved training hours during the year.

The award is named in honor of the first executive director of the state school board association who held the position for more than 33 years.

Stevens recorded 71 hours of training on his own this year to receive the award.

“This is the second time. We’re looking for a three-peat next year,” Kilroy said. “Thank you for all of your hard work and time spent in the school district.”

The board also played a part in two more awards the district received during the board meeting from Mississippi PREPS, or Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools.

“Mississippi PREPS finds school districts and schools that do things that make gains that statistically they were not suppose to make,” Shealy said.

The Value Added Award was given to the district for the successful performance of students at Bovina Elementary School on the 2015 PARCC Mathematics test.

The Dan Merritt Courage Award was presented to the school district as a whole for being designated a District of Innovation.

The award is given, “For having the courage to take a professional risk for the greater good of the school district.”

“In my opinion there is not a better board or district that should be receiving this because that’s what our eyes are on, is what’s good for children and that’s what we’re taking risks doing,” Shealy said, adding the award is special to him because he was a childhood friend of Dan Merritt’s son.

“Our board really is a courageous board,” Shealy said. “They make decisions on what’s best for students. Sometimes those are tough. Sometimes they have to balance finances and what their constituents want, but really they are a wonderful five-member board that just absolutely have a heart for what they do. We’re very fortunate to have them.”

The board is comprised of president Bryan Pratt, vice president Joe Loviza, secretary Sally Bullard, member James Stirgus Jr. and Stevens.