New superintendent: Schools need the help of the community

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Moving the Natchez-Adams School District forward in challenging times will take the cooperation of the whole community, Dr. Anthony Lee Morris told Rotarians Wednesday.

&uot;We must establish strong, inclusive, broadbased groups (and) have the commitment of visible leaders&uot; in the community to decide how to make changes if they are needed, Morris said in a speech to the Natchez Rotary Club.

&uot;It’s not about me as an individual,&uot; said the newly appointed superintendent. &uot;It doesn’t matter who makes the touchdown as long as it’s a team effort.&uot;

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That effort must include stakeholders from inside and outside the schools, he said, adding that &uot;we must create a shared vision.&uot;

While Morris has declined to give specifics of his plans until he starts work July 1, he said his first job will be establish trust with community members. &uot;I don’t think it will be as difficult for me as it would be for one who is totally new to the system,&uot; Morris said.

Morris served as principal of Natchez High School from 1994 to 1997 before returning to his former employer, the South Panola School District, as director of personnel.

Morris’ next goal will be to convince churches and families to take a more active goal in the education of children.

Such collaboration is needed if schools are to live up to the rigorous standards of the No Child Left Behind Act as well as state accountability standards.

Another priority is to recruit and retain high quality personnel, Morris said.

At one time, the Natchez-Adams School District was one that other districts statewide looked to as a model, &uot;and the resources are here that that can happen again,&uot; he said.