Shealy bids farewell to Vicksburg Warren School District, Board OKs interim salary

Published 4:03 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

Members of the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees said goodbye to the district’s superintendent and approved the appointment and salary of its interim superintendent, who will oversee the school district’s operations until a new superintendent is hired.

Chad Shealy, who led the school district for 10 years, the longest of any VWSD superintendent since the district consolidated in 1986, announced in February he was retiring this year. Thursday was his last day in office.

The trustees at Thursday night’s meeting named Deputy Superintendent David Campbell to serve as interim superintendent until Shealy’s replacement is named.

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“I don’t know how to say this because I’ve never done it before,” Shealy told the board. “I’ve never been at a point where I said, ‘Hey, this is it for me in education,’ and one of the things that I know behind the shadow of a doubt is I got in this business to make a difference in the lives of children. It’s all about the kids and for me at every level, that’s what it was always about. When I was a teacher, I loved it.”

He said he served as an assistant principal and principal in multiple schools before getting the opportunity to come to Vicksburg.

“I believe it was God-led but it was awesome to be able to take the vision of this particular board and do the things that we wanted to do, to accomplish those goals that at the time when we wrote some of them, we thought they were unachievable and for us to be able to have done that. It’s been amazing,” he said.

Addressing the trustees, Shealy said each was his friend in a very professional way, and they have helped him “to make sure that what they wanted to get done, but they’ve also undergirded me and held me up.

“This particular job is tough for anybody and whoever they get is going to need that same support,” he said. “We always kept our minds and our eyes focused on what’s best for kids. And when there are adults or organizations that don’t have that in their sights, they fought me over and over and over again for 10 years.

“I have been fortunate and I do appreciate each one of you personally but I’m very thankful that you’re going to be in the continuing board because I will still have a child in this school district,” Shealy added. “After tomorrow, when I cease to be the superintendent, I will still be a daddy in the Vicksburg Warren School District.”

Under Shealy’s leadership, the district’s accountability score in 2022 increased from a “D” rating to a “B” rating.

During his tenure, the board launched the Vicksburg Warren College & Career Academies; established the River City Early College High School Program; passed the first school improvement facilities bond in 50 years; created exit strategies to help align students with their best future; and expanded the Leader in Me initiative district-wide.

The trustees met in a more than 30-minute executive session that included Campbell meeting with the board before approving Campbell’s appointment as interim superintendent and a $12,000 increase in pay, which means if he remains in office for an entire year, he will earn a total of $182,00. Shealy in 2021-2022 made $195,800, a figure that included raises in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Board President Kimble Slayton said Campbell has put in his notice to retire at the end of June.

Campbell became deputy superintendent in 2014. Previously, he had been the principal at Byram Elementary School in the Hinds County Public School District. During that time, he hired Shealy to teach art at the school.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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