Leaders in place; VWSD ready to soar

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Before I got my first job at a newspaper in Bainbridge, my entire background was covering sports. I had worked for a radio station and a couple different websites while in college covering Florida State teams.

Then in my free time, I stringed for a couple newspapers covering high school sports.

When I got my job in Bainbridge, much like here it Vicksburg, it was a hybrid news sports position. My beats in Bainbridge were city council and board of education. Coming from a sports background, covering a board meeting was a little bit of a shock the first time. It is a lot different than a Jimbo Fisher press conference or chasing down a high school coach after a game.

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Somewhat to my surprise, a part of the job I have really grown to enjoy is covering education. Yes, covering city council was important, but when covering education you can see and feel the direct impact it will have on people and specifically kids’ lives.

Those who work in and run education have taken upon themselves one of the most important roles in our society. Covering education can sometimes get bogged down in test scores and data, but I am very numbers based so that doesn’t bother me. The other side of it though is the people I get to meet. As a reporter, I get to share the experiences and the great moments that happen at the schools and celebrate their accomplishments.

That is why I was excited when I moved to Vicksburg and was assigned the education beat once again. Recently, my project has been writing feature stories about the six new principals in the Vicksburg Warren School District this school year.

Five of the stories have already run, and the sixth on Tameka Davis at Sherman Avenue will run next week.

Through six interviews, I can honestly say I was blown away by this collective group of leaders. Katrina Hills at Vicksburg Junior High, LaShonda Keyes-Smith at Dana Road, David Adams at Beechwood, LaToya Minor at South Park, Angela Johnson at Vicksburg High and Davis are going to have an incredible impact on the students in this district.

They each have different backgrounds —some are principals for the first time others, some are new to the district, but one thing is true for each and every one of them. They love children and have dedicated their lives to educating, molding and helping children to grow. 

VWSD has become one of the first school systems in the world to be fully integrated into Leader in Me from pre-K to 12th grade. As they mold the next generation of leaders, it requires strong capable leaders to be in charge. These six news principals, and the others already in place throughout VWSD, meet this criterion and then some.

It is an important time at VWSD with Leader in Me being fully integrated and career academies being developed at the high schools.

The right leaders are in place from superintendent through the principals to make these changes a success and ensure that the future of the VWSD and the community as a whole is bright.

Brandon O’Connor is a staff writer with The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at brandon.oconnor@vicksburgpost.com.