Bailey embarking on new adventures with PCA soccer team, home school program

Published 5:23 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Samantha Bailey left her job at Vicksburg High School for a new educational adventure, but she’s still keeping a foot in her old coaching world.

Bailey left Vicksburg High in May to establish the Bailey Academy home school organization. On Wednesday, she was also hired to coach soccer and softball at Porter’s Chapel Academy.

Bailey will be the head coach for PCA’s co-ed soccer team, and an assistant for the softball program. Carlos Dawson will be the softball head coach.

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“It was a hard decision, because if I wanted to keep coaching I really wanted to be with my girls at Vicksburg. But Porter’s Chapel offered me the best of both worlds,” Bailey said. “I’ve got more time at home to be able to open my home school and be able to be with my kids, while still getting to coach. That was the draw to Porter’s Chapel.”

Bailey had a 26-20-4 record, along with Region 4-5A championships in all three of her seasons as was Vicksburg’s girls’ soccer coach. She was the 2023 Vicksburg Post soccer Coach of the Year after leading the Missy Gators to their first playoff victory since 2010.

Her decision to leave that job, though, had little to do with sports and everything to do with educating her four children.

“I knew that I wanted something different. When I started looking at what my kids needed, and then what other parents were saying, there was a need for a home school and there was a need for someone who could actually teach these kids,” Bailey said. “A lot of parents want to do home school but are not capable of teaching their child. Being able to offer that to the community, it was right for our family. It was the right fit.”

The Bailey Academy has about 10 students so far, ranging in age from pre-K to high school. Bailey, who is certified to teach several subjects, and her mother Cheryl Steven are the instructors.

Home school formats can vary widely, from co-ops that resemble a traditional school structure to those that focus more on instruction outside of the classroom or online classes. Bailey said she’s trying to blend all of those approaches and tailor instruction to each student’s needs.

Those interested in the home school program can contact Bailey at

“There are a couple of different ways that people do this. Sometimes people teach their kids in their own home. Sometimes they do a co-op where different people teach different things,” Bailey said. “Since I have taught as low as third grade and as high as high school and I’m licensed to teach a whole bunch of different things, I pieced together what I’ve seen did work and didn’t work and created what the kids I’m going to have will need.”

Bailey said she had some talks with Porter’s Chapel earlier in the spring, after softball coach Chandler Upton announced she was leaving the school. Several factors kept her from taking the job then, but after the Bailey Academy gained a few students those were resolved.

“They had openings at Porter’s Chapel, but financially I couldn’t do that. I originally declined the offer, but once the home school took off I came back and told them I really would like to coach for you guys if you still have an opening. They said, ‘We’re happy to have you,” Bailey said.

Bailey said she expects an adjustment period in going from a large public school to a small private one. The softball team at Vicksburg had more than 20 players, and PCA only has 13. She coached girls soccer at Vicksburg, but Porter’s Chapel’s squad is co-ed because there aren’t enough boys or girls playing to form a full team of either gender.

PCA’s soccer program has undergone a number of starts and stops over the years because of low participation. It did not field a team last season.

“It’s new. It’s a big adjustment. I was at (softball) practice last night and was like, ‘This is so much different than what I’m used to.’ It’s going to take a little bit of time. I went from having 20-something girls to having 13” for softball, she said. “And then just trying to get their soccer program back up and running. I’m really excited for school to start. That’s when I’m going to go in and talk to them and see who’s interested in learning how to play (soccer).”

Bailey said the hardest part of her new endeavor, however, was leaving one of the old ones behind. She took over Vicksburg High’s soccer program when it was coming off a region championship, but also struggling for year-to-year consistency.

The bulk of last season’s roster was freshmen and sophomores, and a number of them entered the starting lineup when Bailey came aboard. Bailey said she was sad that she won’t get to see their journey all the way through.

“That’s been the hardest part. I took it on when we didn’t have a whole lot to work with and built it up to where they are now,” Bailey said. “Walking away from what I built, that’s hard because you’re scared who’s going to take care of it and are they going to continue to run with it. Those girls deserve somebody that’s going to get behind it and champion it.

“But at the end of the day, as much as I love them, as much as I love them, as much as I enjoy being there with them, I have to do what’s right for my kids,” she added. “That was the hardest part is coming to terms with that.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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