Pickett Wilson has resigned her post as president of the Starkville School District Board of Trustees.
In an e-mailed statement to Starkville Daily News on Monday, Wilson said that she will step aside as president effective immediately but will continue to serve as a member of the board until the completion of her term. Her term expires in March 2012.
The school board came under fire in the wake of Superintentent Judy Couey’s resignation. The board put Couey on administrative leave during an April 20 executive session and voted to accept her resignation for “health reasons” in a closed session on April 27.
Wilson said in a May 6 statement that the school board agreed to an $80,000 financial settlement with Couey.
Last week during a meeting of the Starkville Board of Aldermen, District 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins, who is also an attorney, called for Wilson to resign. When contacted, Wilson said she had no intention of resigning from the school board.
Monday, Perkins said, “I am apprised of Ms. Pickett Wilson’s decision to resign as president of Starkville School District Board of Trustees Monday morning. I certainly appreciate her recognition of the need to make the appropriate and necessary changes for the betterment of the Starkville School District and the city of Starkville.”
The board is composed of five members, four of whom are appointed by the board of aldermen and one who is elected by Starkville School District voters living outside the city limits. One is appointed each year in the aldermen’s February meeting and serves a term of five years.
District 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said, “I hope that this resignation is only the beginning of several needed steps to right the ship and start the process of reformation with our school district. The top is a great place to start and hopefully we can now all focus on the hiring of a superintendent and the selection of a Board President that will re-establish the pride throughout the district.”
The board will hold a special meeting tonight (Tuesday) to consider the reorganization of the board and to elect offices. Current officers are Keith Coble, vice president; Eddie Myles, secretary; Lee Brand, assistant secretary; and Eric Heiselt, member.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said, “A community is only as strong as its school system. By any estimation, this has been a trying month for our school system. As the school board continues to work through this period of transition, it is important that they do so in a manner that is transparent and publicly inclusive. Having reviewed the preliminary process for selecting a new superintendent, I am encouraged that the process is designed to be open and inclusive. It is of the highest importance that we as a community participate thoroughly and constructively in that process with one goal in mind – ensuring that the best days of the Starkville School District lie ahead of us. The future of this community demands nothing less.”