Natchez superintendent’s departure from community college board a first

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NATCHEZ Adams County is now the only county served by Copiah-Lincoln Community College that is not represented by its school district superintendent on the community college’s board of trustees.

Natchez-Adams School District Superintendent Frederick Hill recently resigned from his post on the board.

Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said this is the first time a county served by his school does not have its superintendent on the college’s board.

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The college’s board of trustees is comprised of 27 members, including the superintendents from the six other counties Co-Lin represents — Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln and Simpson counties.

Nettles said Hill’s request to resign initially required some research from college officials.

“Every county superintendent is appointed by virtue of their position to the board of trustees, and in that, it would seem that you can’t resign and that was what a lot of folks thought for the longest time,” Nettles said. “When this came up, we got to looking at the law closer and there was a provision that allows the county superintendent to resign and for the county board of supervisors to appoint a replacement.

“We had to get the attorney general involved to get us an opinion, but Dr. Hill can resign.”

Nettles said Hill told board members he was resigning because of other time commitments.

Hill did not return multiple messages for comment on the matter.

NASD Board of Trustees President Tim Blalock said no language exists in Hill’s contract that requires him to serve on the Co-Lin board, though it has been something previous superintendents have always done.

Blalock said he understood Hill’s desire to resign from the board and didn’t feel it would have a negative impact on the school district.

“It seems like this big important thing, but there are 20 to 30 something members on it, and it’s not like here where we have five people and if one isn’t here you can’t vote on something,” Blalock said. “They have a large amount of people on the board, and what he told us was that it was draining his time going to all the meetings.”

School board member Thelma Newsome also serves on the Co-Lin board, and Blalock said he felt confident the district’s best interest would still be represented.

“We have Mrs. Newsome there, so it’s not like we don’t have anyone there to speak for us,” Blalock said. “We’re asking a lot from Dr. Hill, and he’s not Superman.”

Nettles said Co-Lin would continue to work with the NASD any way it could.

Co-Lin currently offers dual enrollment courses to high school students in the NASD.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors appointed long-time educator Joyce Johnson earlier this week to fill the vacancy left by Hill’s resignation.

Johnson worked for the NASD for 41 years, retired and later came back to serve as interim superintendent.

Johnson served as interim superintendent until Hill was hired in 2012.