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Statement of Qualifications

As a graduate of Jenks High School in Jenks, Oklahoma, I began college at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as my father was in the faculty of Internal Medicine at Oral Roberts Medical School. When my family moved back to Mississippi, I returned with them and completed my Bachelor Degree and one Masters Degree in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at the University of Southern Mississippi. Upon graduation with a bachelor’s degree, I opened a retail business in Jackson, Mississippi, which I owned and operated for six years. Although I tried to ignore it for several years, education is in my blood.

        Consequently, I entered the field of education. I have several graduate degrees including a Doctorate in Educational Administration. My administrative assignments have prepared me to lead in a fair and equitable manner. As an educational leader, I have served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Velma Jackson Magnet High School in Madison County, Mississippi, and as Principal at Lakeside School-Mississippi State Hospital and Forest High School in Forest, Mississippi. My experience includes two years of administrative service at the higher education board office with the GEAR UP MS program.

        The opportunities to participate in the crafting and implementation of a high school funded through the USDE Magnet Schools Assistance Program as well as the state-wide GEAR UP MS program offered me unlimited opportunities to collaborate with local, state, and national educational leaders. All of these opportunities have demanded a high degree of skill in building consensus among often extremely diverse stakeholders, in designing creative solutions for instruction within the parameters of policy and procedure, and in strategic planning for programs that are focused and evaluated on student outcomes.

        During these administrative appointments, I served simultaneously as adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology at Hinds Community College, teaching Introduction to Psychology and Child Psychology for seven years and for a maximum of twelve hours in some semesters. I have served this summer as an adjunct in the Department of Educational Administration teaching program evaluation to the doctoral students. I understand the opportunities that are related to post-secondary education; I also understand the challenges of the post-secondary institutions that come from students who leave high school with limited academic skills—such issues that directly impact the financial and retention issues of these institutions.
        My experience at the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning as the Program Coordinator for GEAR UP Mississippi provided me the responsibilities of communicating, facilitating, and leading an effort that includes 32 public school superintendents, 56 secondary principals, approximately 450 teachers and ultimately over 7000 students across the state of Mississippi. I also had roles of peer leadership with the personnel of the Mississippi Department of Education, the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, our IHE’s and the other agencies, foundations, and corporate sponsors of the program. The position allowed me to develop additional skills related to facilitative leadership in considering options and determining priorities for educational programming.
        My experiences at Velma Jackson Magnet High School and at GEAR UP MS were steeped in the reporting, integrity, and accountability related to the programmatic as well as fiscal responsibilities that are demanded with such grants from the USDE. I served successfully as writer, coordinator, and liaison with Washington in much of the implementation of these grants. The highlight of this program involved the cross-curricular infusion of a multi-cultural world studies curriculum which was achieved through consistent and intensive horizontal and vertical team planning. I believe that I am well able to maintain the focus and to lead in the development of a strong system of academic programming that provides equity and adequacy to a diverse group of students.

        My time as Assistant Superintendent for Learning Services in Pulaski County was a time of rebuilding as the district struggled to overcome challenges from twenty-two years of the longest running desegregation case in the country, an administrative power struggle with the teachers’ union, and a changing demographic that has gone largely unaddressed. The combination of these factors left the district with twelve of the thirteen secondary schools and a number of elementary schools in school improvement.

        During my service as Assistant Superintendent in Pulaski County, Arkansas, I forged a strong mutually respectful relationship with the teacher’s union while offering instructional leadership to the building and district administrators. I also led a series of town meetings in each of the feeder attendance zones in an effort to regain the participation and trust of the communities. We built, staffed, and opened a new middle school while leading the planning committee in the development of programming and conceptual facility designs for a new elementary school.

        In Tulsa I served for four years as an examiner for the Oklahoma Quality Award Foundation, an organization that endorses the Baldrige model of continuous improvement. As Director of Staff Development and Leadership Training, I led in the development of training that aligned our site improvement plans to the District Strategic Plan in accordance with the Baldrige model. The successes that I had in leading outcome-focused change were significantly supported by my collaborative and team-oriented leadership style. As Assistant Superintendent of School Innovations, I led a task force of approximately 125 stakeholders organized in a half dozen task teams to study the effectiveness of our schools with a focus on educational alternatives. Through my open and effective communication skills, the teams produced a comprehensive and research-based plan for reinventing our schools with a focus on individual student needs. We developed a plan of deployment through a five-year scaffolding of interventions to maintain fiscal integrity and a strategic development of personnel. Job descriptions of instructional staff were modified to reflect goals of relationship, relevance, rigor, readiness, and responsibility through best practices at each developmental level.

        Due to economic developments in 2010, the Assistant Superintendent position was one of about 175 administrative and 200 teacher positions that were eliminated, my contract was renewed, and I was assigned to a principal position at an alternative high school. Due to philosophical, ethical, and moral differences in expectations for dealing with student behavior, I resigned October 21, 2010, and have been working independently as consultant, speaker, and writer since that time.

        My service in the public education system demonstrates a track record for successfully leading change that has resulted in improved academic performance through data-driven and student-centered strategies. Frequently, this service has been in schools that have traditionally lacked a positive academic program for all students—a delineation that was often relative to racial and socioeconomic parameters. I have been able to lead the learning communities beyond such parameters into paradigm shifts that have involved data-driven decisions to successfully serve all of the students in the schools.

        I have enjoyed similar success with peers. I was honored by my peers at Jackson State University by being elected as the President of the Doctoral Student Association for the 2002-2003 school year and as Vice President of Programs for Phi Delta Kappa for 2003-2004. I was recently elected president of Phi Delta Kappa for this year. I was also invited to serve on the Advisory Board of the Leadership Redesign Team for the Jackson State University Graduate Program for Education Administration as well as the Advisory Committee for Graduate Degrees in Secondary Education at JSU.

        It has been said that ‘a man’s attitude writes the script of his life.’ I have an extensive and diverse resume of experience that provides me with an understanding of all levels of education especially in the area of curriculum and instruction. Therefore, I am confident that I have the training, skills, and potential to successfully and effectively lead a twenty-first century school district with a community-driven vision and skills that produce high levels of student success.

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