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Superintendent search process discussion begins

May 17, 2011

By PAUL SIMS
sdnedu@bellsouth.net

The Starkville School District board will meet today to begin formal talks on the process of hiring a new superintendent in the wake of Judy Couey’s departure last month.
The 3 p.m. session at the Greensboro Center will follow a board tour of the city’s schools. Through the course of the day they’ll visit Armstrong Middle School, Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary School, Sudduth Elementary School, Overstreet School and Starkville High School along with the Millsaps Career and Technology Center, located adjacent to SHS.
The SSD is without a permanent superintendent after Judy Couey resigned effective June 30 citing health reasons. The school board put Couey on administrative leave April 20, also at that time directing special counsel Ben Piazza to consult with Couey through her attorney regarding her continued employment with the district.
The board voted to accept Couey’s resignation April 27 in a closed session. Prior to this move, Beth Sewell and Walter Gonsoulin were the district’s two assistant superintendents. Also on April 27, the board named Sewell acting superintendent and Gonsoulin as the district’s only assistant superintendent.
Following the board’s May 3 meeting, Board President Pickett Wilson said Sewell would conduct a review of the district before the search process moved forward.
On April 27, Wilson said school officials will “be very deliberate and do a thorough search” and adding that administrators, principals, teachers, parents and the community will be included in the search process.
In a statement issued April 27, school officials said they want the next superintendent to be someone who is a visionary leader in the areas of instruction, operations and finance.

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