Former NASD superintendent up for job in Columbus

Published 12:04 am Friday, April 15, 2016

NATCHEZ — Natchez-Adams School District’s former superintendent is under consideration for a principal’s position in Columbus while his assistant has been hired in Tupelo.

Former superintendent Frederick is seeking employment as Columbus High School’s next principal, The Commercial Dispatch newspaper reported this week.

Columbus Municipal School District Superintendent Phillip Hickman proposed Hill Monday to lead the school, but the suggestion met some concern from board member Jason Spears.

Email newsletter signup

The decision to hire Hill was scheduled during the meeting’s personnel recommendations, meaning it and other items would be considered within a single motion vote. However, Spears motioned that Hill’s potential hiring be voted on separately.

Spears’ motion failed to pass, as did the district’s agenda, so the meeting was canceled.

Former NASD deputy superintendent Tanisha Smith has found employment in the Tupelo Public School District, where she had previously worked. Smith was named director of the alternative program at the Fillmore Center at a special-called school board meeting last week.

Tupelo Public School District Superintendent Gearl Loden said he has heard nothing but positive feedback since Smith’s hiring.

“Our district is one of the highest-rated districts in the state, and Dr. Smith has worked here before and she worked with our curriculum team and (as the assistant principal) at the high school,” Loden said. “She had the courage to go to a district that was one of the historic underperformers in the state and try to make a difference.

“We are aware of the situation, and we are confident in her ability to do well in Tupelo. We have all the confidence in Dr. Smith.”

Hill, Smith and the Natchez-Adams School District were found liable in federal court for creating a racially hostile work environment for former West Elementary School principal Cindy Idom, who left her position with the school.

The jury granted Idom a $668,000 judgment in September.

Last week, a federal judge denied a request to toss out the jury verdict or grant a new trial.

The Natchez-Adams School Board terminated Hill’s contract earlier this month.

Hickman told the Columbus newspaper that he believed Hill was wrongfully terminated as superintendent. Also, he said, the claims aren’t an issue since the plan was to hire Hill as a principal, not a superintendent.

Hickman said Hill was one of the top three choices for the job, and he added the other two were “quickly snatched up.”

The Columbus school board will continue to review Hill’s potential employment at its next meeting. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be May 9.

Smith resigned her Natchez-Adams position Wednesday to accept the Tupelo job, which she was approved for the following day.