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Here is some expert relationship advice

Come in, Natchez. Have a seat on the couch.

Lie down if you’d like. Tissue is on the end table if you need it.

First, I’ll tell you a bit about myself, and then we’ll discuss why you are here today.

I have no official certificate in relationship counseling, nor do I even play a therapist on TV.

But back to you; you’ve had multiple failed relationships, I hear, and you’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps the problem wasn’t all of them, it was you?

Well, that’s an important observation, but now that you see the bigger picture there’s good news. You can control it.

You’ve expressed that the education of your children is of the utmost importance to you, and now that you sit at this crossroads, you’ve begun making lists of what the partner in your next relationship must bring to the table.

That’s all right and good, but have you considered that hiring a superintendent is about more than what you need?

Yes, your next partner in the lifelong journey of educating children will have needs to.

Are you ready to meet them? Have you considered what they might be?

Yes, yes, I’ve admitted that I carry no official certification to counsel you in this situation. You’re right; you don’t have to listen to me.

But I’ve called in a few experts — complete with certification — and their advice is worth heeding.

“We need support from the community, from all entities of the community, from parents, businesses, clubs, organizations,” said Timothy Scott the superintendent of the Wilkinson County schools.

Concordia Parish Superintendent Loretta Blankenstein echoes that plea for community support, and says you, Natchez, can use this time in between superintendents to prepare yourself for the new relationship.

“Each person really needs to look into themselves and decide what they are willing to put forth for the future of Natchez and the educational system,” she said. “The educational system is the future. Can you volunteer? Mentor? Check with the school. Are there things they may need?

“Schools really need the help of everyone — the judicial system, the help of the parents, people in the community, the religious sector. All of those things affect how schools perform.”

And superintendents need you to be a part of the process with an open mind, Brookhaven School District Superintendent Lisa Karmacharya said.

“As we move forward as an entity — a school system in general — with more and more influence from the federal level, we have to say we cannot do business the same way we have and expect the same results,” she said. “That means everyone accepting that reality looks different now than it did when we were in school.

“(A community) must be ready to accept the fact that (the superintendent) has a set of skills and a level of expertise and say that we are going to trust you.”

Bring proposed solutions when you come to his office with a complaint, Scott said.

Give the superintendent time to analyze what — and who — is working and who is not, Blankenstein said. If a change must be made, even if it affects your family member or friend, support it.

Speak positively of your schools, celebrate the good and darken the doors of the public schools whether you have children there or not, all three educators advise.

What question should you ask yourself now, Natchez, before a new relationship starts? That’s simple, Blankenstein said.

“Are we going to be committed to make a difference or are we just going to criticize?”

Your answer will determine the success of your next relationship.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.