By Joseph McCain
The Winston County Journal
An experienced educator took the helm of the Louisville Municipal School District June 27 as Ken McMullan was selected as the district’s superintendent.
With a 5 to 0 vote the LMSD trustees voted to name McMullan as superintendent after a series of lengthy executive sessions leading up to the decision. Sixteen persons had applied for the position through a nationwide search conducted by Mississippi School Board Association.
LMSD board of trustees’ president Cathy Edwards explained that among the applicants McMullan stood out for a number of reasons.
“He knows our district. He is familiar with all the employees of the district and he will work with the community,” said Edwards. “He understands the challenges the district faces and how to move our district forward.”
The school board of trustees would be hard pressed to find anyone more familiar with the district than McMullan.
McMullan including his time as a student teacher has worked in every school in the district except Noxapater and WLCTC.
McMullan most recently served as assistant superintendent for five years. He has also served as a principal for three years at Louisville High School and two years at Nanih Waiya. While experienced on the academic side of the job, he is also experienced with the athletic side having served as athletic director for Nanih Waiya. McMullan student taught at Louisville Elementary School and Fair Elementary School. He gained his first teaching and coaching job at Eiland Middle School in 1995.
McMullan noted his familiarity with the district; its goals and its challenges were key in planning the district’s future.
“I’m humbled, excited and really privileged for the opportunity to lead the district,” said McMullan.
One of the first parts of that leadership is to put in place a great team. McMullan explained that he is already seeking and preparing to fill the two principal openings in the district with one at Eiland and one at Noxapater.
“There is a sense of urgency with filling the two principal positions yet we will hire the best qualified,” said McMullan.
McMullan must also name a replacement for his former role as the assistant superintendent and transportation director.
McMullan aims to get the staff in place so that the district can move forward with its goal of providing the children in the district with a quality education.
The staff, which includes about 400 employees for McMullan to direct, will include not only two new principals but also about 25 new teachers.
McMullan noted that his familiarity with the staff would also help in his new role. He explained that for several years as assistant superintendent he fingerprinted each employee in the district and therefore became familiar with all those employees as well as his years of service in the district working along side many of the staff. He also helped recruit many of the teachers and staff to the district in his former roles in the district.
“There is a lot of moving parts with over 400 employees,” said McMullan. “I expect a days work for a days wages.”
“I have high expectations for myself, for every administrator, for every employee,” added McMullan. “We have jobs because of the children and our roles can benefit the children and our society like no other profession.”
McMullan explained the students were his top priority each day. He feels this way because of his familiarity with so many of the students and their parents from his time working in the district, attending athletic events and working with the children in the county through so many other programs outside of school.
With the children as the top focus for McMullan, he explained as he works he hopes to develop ways improve reading skills on all levels with a focus on third graders. He noted that dropouts from school were not a high school problem but a k-12 problem. He explained that those who fall behind early on and struggle up through high school are the ones who drop out.
“We have to get them the extra help early on,” said McMullan.
McMullan added the critical areas of math, reading, and science must be focused on and every teacher must be using every minute between the bells to be teaching and helping the students pass the state tests as well as prepare for their future.
McMullan also outlined he would be working to make every employee aware that they represent the district and each person is part of the public relations for the district as well as each person plays a role in providing a good education to each student.
“We have to and we will do a good job of educating the children of Winston County,” said McMullan.
McMullan replaces retiring superintendent Dr. William Wade.
June 26 LMSD Board Meeting
The board discussed the options for hiring the superintendent but postponed the decision until June 27.
The board in the meeting did approve the 2013-2014 school year budget, approved 5 resignations, approved one hire and approved a new vendor (BSN Sports Equipment) for sports equipment at LHS and Nanih Waiya along with donated equipment from the new vendor to LHS.