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Update expected next week in SSD admin vacancy

October 14, 2012


Starkville School District Superintendent Lewis Holloway says he will update the school board about the ongoing search to fill a second-tier administrator position on Oct. 23.

Beth Sewell, the district’s former assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, left her post in July. Her departure came after she guided the district as its interim superintendent for almost a year before Holloway officially took over that same month.

Since Sewell’s resignation, the school district advertised the vacant position, formed a search committee and began preliminary interviews.

In August, Holloway said the search itself could last as late as January due to other school districts’ schedules.

This search process marks the second time this year the school district has looked for an assistant superintendent. In June, Toriano Holloway was hired, replacing Walter Gonsoulin as superintendent for federal programs and operations after Gonsoulin departed to lead the Fairfield, Ala. city school district.

Toriano Holloway was unanimously selected by a four-person search committee out of five finalists and 15 applicants. Before applying for his current job, he also applied for the district’s open superintendent position before Lewis Holloway was hired. A 2010 Meridian Star column also listed Toriano Holloway as Meridian Public School District’s preferred superintendent candidate.

Previously, SSD Board of Trustees President Keith Coble said he expects this current search process to compare closely to the searches which landed both Lewis and Toriano Holloway.

“Dr. Sewell spent last year in a position that was definitely challenging. We went about the search for a districtwide superintendent in a methodical process. We didn’t get in a big hurry because we wanted to do it right. She probably spent more time as an interim than we thought she would,” Coble said in August. “Right now, we don’t want to drag our feet, but we definitely don’t want to get in a hurry and make a mistake. It’s all about finding the right person for the job.”

The school board is scheduled to meet noon on Oct. 23 at the Greensboro Center. Board members are also expected to discuss recent amendments to the district’s goals — becoming a high performing district by 2017 with 85 percent of students scoring proficient or above, increasing the graduation rate from 71 percent to 75 percent by 2013 and having 60 percent of the student population participating in one or more non-core area programs in visual/performing arts, athletics, advanced course work and/or community service — and how to ensure those goals are met.

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