Supervisors appoint new school board member

Published 10:59 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017


NATCHEZ — Almost two months after conducting the interviews, the Adams County Board of Supervisors Wednesday appointed a new school board member.

The board voted 3-2 in selecting Renee Davis Wall, a Key Rehab physical therapist. Supervisors Ricky Gray, Angela Hutchins and Calvin Butler voted yes, while Mike Lazarus and David Carter voted no.

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The vote follows the April resignation of Cynthia Smith, one of the county’s two school board appointees. Smith resigned due to health issues that she said would cause her to miss many meetings.

Carter and Lazarus both said they felt like the other candidate, Alcorn State University English professor Dianne Bunch, had more experience for the job.

“There is not a lot of public confidence in public education and you look at the board, and all don’t have backgrounds in education,” Carter said. “To me, Dr. Bunch clearly explained that she knew the issues.

“I know both have passion, but to me, it was a no-brainer. She knew ways to help lead and seemed like a leader.”

Gray said both Bunch and Wall are good options, but in his opinion, Wall had more of a vested interest in the district.

“She is a Natchez High School graduate,” Gray said. “She has more hands on experience for what the problems are in the school district. She graduated and also came back and coached at Natchez High.”

Gray said some of the talking points Bunch had, such as teacher development, would be better for a superintendent candidate than a school board member candidate.

“I don’t know if she would be able to do that as a school board member,” he said. “I don’t think she’ll be able to implement it.”

Carter said he would not want to exclude someone interested in the position because they were “overqualified.”

“I hate to see someone with that kind of experience apply, and us not find a way to utilize her,” Carter said.

Hutchins said being a former employee of the county has made her a better supervisor. Likewise, Hutchins said, Wall being a former student would make her a better school board member.

Lazarus said he did not think Wall was the wrong choice, but he said he would vote no because Bunch has more experience.

“We have two good candidates, and I don’t think you can go wrong,” Lazarus said.

Wall said in May some of what she hoped to bring to the board included making sure all students had the same opportunities she had when coming through the system and to also engage the community to support the public school system, which has a lot to offer the community.