New principals abound for Natchez-Adams schools

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Karen Tutor sat in an unfamiliar office, surrounded by unfamiliar things. She has entered a new world, a new job, a new school.

New Superintendent Anthony Morris is not the only new person in town or the Natchez-Adams School District. He is joined by five new principals in the district, one of whom is Tutor, the new principal of McLaurin Elementary School.

All five principals are not completely new. Two are transplants from other areas within the district to their new posts, one worked in the district previously, one is from across the river and another from down the road in Brookhaven.

Email newsletter signup

These new principals will embark on unfamiliar territory, more so for some than others, and new challenges.

Tutor describes it as having a &uot;lot of catching up to do.&uot;

There is so much to learn about a new school and she said she started with talking to the old principal, Linda McMurtry, with whom she taught before at Morgantown Elementary.

Also, she looked through handbooks and other resources left behind in her office.

But, with school about one month away these principals have to adjust quickly but as Tutor said, &uot;you hit the ground running.&uot;

McLaurin Elementary School

Tutor takes over the top administrative position of this school that has had three new principals in three semesters. But it is a challenge she is looking forward to.

Tutor comes to Natchez-Adams County from Oxford, where she was principal of a middle school. Before that she worked in the central office and in special education in Oxford. From 1985 to 1988, Tutor worked in Natchez at Morgantown Elementary and taught music before that position.

Tutor heard great things about Morris, being just a few miles away from him in their old school districts. &uot;They spoke so very highly of him,&uot; Tutor said.

Tutor’s goal &045; to make McLaurin one of the best schools in Mississippi. Also, to make sure students learn the fundamentals in the early grades because, coming from middle school where seventh graders have to pass standardized tests, she realizes how important it is to &uot;build on the grades before.&uot;

Frazier Primary School

Lorraine Fleming Franklin moved from assistant principal at Natchez High School to principal at Frazier. Fleming Franklin graduated from Natchez High School, served as a teacher’s assistant right out of high school and substitute taught and so, has been with the school district in many capacities and for many years. However, she did leave the district to teach in Gloster for nine years. She then returned to teach at Frazier (formerly Susie B. West) and Morgantown. She was not only the assistant principal at Natchez High School, but before that, was the assistant principal at McLaurin Elementary.

Her philosophy is that &uot;all children can learn.&uot;

She said that not all of them learn at the same time or in the same way but &uot;every child is an achiever.&uot;

She feels children are the focus of education and is a self-proclaimed lover of children and &uot;an educator at heart.&uot;

Morgantown Elementary School

Fred Marsalis moved his job about 10 miles but changed states in the process. Marsalis retired from the Concordia Parish School District after 35 years, but had taught in Mississippi two years before that.

He served as a teacher, coach and principal in Concordia Parish. His wife and son remain at Vidalia High school.

Although he retired, he was not ready to quit education yet.

&uot;I felt like I had a little more to offer the education system,&uot; Marsalis said.

In his last capacity in Concordia Parish, he served as principal of Vidalia Junior High.

Marsalis does not think he will have a problem with the adjustment to elementary school children.

&uot;I believe children are the same anywhere you go,&uot; he said.

His first goal is to get accustomed to the school and the district and to accomplish the goals set before him.

Morris is excited about having Marsalis as principal at Morgantown.

&uot;I’m impressed with his background and the experience he’ll bring to Natchez,&uot; Morris said. &uot;I think that it will be a plus for us to have a male role model over there.&uot;

Career and Technology Center

Linda Grafton moves from central office to the technical school but is no stranger to the campus.

Grafton worked at the center for nine years as population coordinator and oversaw technology at central office. Overall, she has 22 1/2 years in education.

Grafton is self-taught in technology but has done a good amount of work in the area, including conducting training sessions to the teachers and administrators when needed.

Grafton is excited about her move back to the center, where she is replacing retired Jack Lann. &uot;Coming back to the vo-tech is like a dream come true,&uot; Grafton said. &uot;It’s the best school in the district.&uot;

Natchez High School

James Loftin moves from assistant principal at Brookhaven to his first job as principal at Natchez High School.

Loftin served as assistant principal for five years and assistant principal at Collins Middle school for two years before that so he is not a stranger to administrative roles.

Before that, he started where all of the other new principals started &045; in the classroom &045; serving 19 years as a science teacher, all on the high school level.

He currently is working on his Ph.D. at Jackson State.