Four of 10 NASD schools to have new leaders

Published 12:01 am Monday, July 11, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams School District will return most of its principals from the previous year in the same positions, but four of the 10 schools will have new head administrators.

McLaurin Elementary School, Frazier Elementary School, Natchez Freshman Academy and Morgantown Natchez Leadership/College Prep Academy will all have new principals, two of them interim in title. The district is still looking to hire two assistant principals, both at the Morgantown academies.

Interim Superintendent Fred Butcher said having stability in the district’s administrative ranks is something positive that funnels down to the teachers and children.

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“It is very difficult to build when you constantly have turnover,” Butcher said. “The teachers have to get used to a new principal, parents have to get used to the new principal and students have to get used to the new principal.

“Hopefully we can build toward having more stability amongst our teaching ranks, and as a result, continue to build for those things we really need to do, and that’s educate our kids.”

Orisha Mims will replace Cynthia Lamkin, who took a job in her hometown, as principal of Joseph L. Frazier Elementary School. Mims had been the principal at Morgantown College Prep Academy this past year.

Butcher said Mims believes in building teams and she had success in bridging communications with staff, parents and students.

“Mrs. Mims is very creative and she had a good, organized program at College Prep,” Butcher said. “We are hoping she will be able to bring some of the organizational skills and new ideas over to Frazier that she started implementing at College Prep.”

Brittany Cheatham will replace Maggie Clark as principal of Gilmer McLaurin Elementary. Cheatham has been working with the Baily Education Group of consultants in Jackson, but she had worked under former McLaurin principal Alice Morrison, who had brought the test scores up at the school. Morrison now works in the Branden Administrative Building in the curriculum and instruction department.

Butcher said Cheatham is from Natchez and believes she’ll work out well for the district.

“I think she is going to focus on two areas we really need to focus on — academics and both student and staff discipline,” he said. “I think she is very organized and has an in-depth knowledge of curriculum.”

Larry Hooper will replace Tracy Myers, who took a job in another district, at the Natchez Freshman Academy. Hooper, who was the assistant principal at the academy, will be interim principal.

“Mr. Hooper has had experience as a lead principal in Claiborne County,” Butcher said. “He is an administrator who is creative and thinks outside the box. I think he also has the ability to focus on academics and discipline.”

Former Morgantown Arts Academy assistant principal Shamekia Isaac has been tasked to be the interim principal at the combined Morgantown College Prep/Leadership Academy.

“Mrs. Isaac has worked at all the different grade levels, and she has had success at different grade levels,” Butcher said. “Her job will be a little different because of the fact she will have to utilize different skills in the college prep side and the leadership side.

“The core curriculum areas are the same, but she will have to be more assertive on the leadership side of it.”

Butcher said the only reason Hooper and Isaac have interim tags is because their principals unexpectedly resigned late in the process. The district doesn’t have to go through an interview process for an interim principal.

“We are trying to start school here in a few weeks,” Butcher said. “These two were already in the district, so we have a general feeling about their abilities.”

Former William Winans Middle School Principal Eric Jackson will come in to be an assistant principal at the high school. The middle school is in the Wilkinson County School District.

Rachel Simmons will also be a high school assistant principal. She is coming from Ruston Junior High in Ruston, La.