Shirley: ‘I’m ready to get started’

Published 12:01 am Friday, July 7, 2017

By Christian Coffman

The Natchez Democrat

Vidalia — Concordia Parish School Board members discussed Thursday the future of the district, including finalizing the contract for incoming-superintendent Whest Shirley.

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During the meeting, Shirley told board members that he expected “realistic” growth of approximately of 2 to 3 percent from students and teachers.

Board President Raymond Riley said he wanted the numbers to be closer to 10 percent.

“If you set a low goal then you have nothing to strive for,” Riley said.

Riley said he expects the new superintendent to move the district forward, but that they had to set goals with common sense.

“You’ve still got to have targets: it’s like sports, you still have to have something to shoot for,” Riley said.

Shirley said he would work with the performance goals set by the board.

“I don’t care what number all of you plug in as far as performance goes, I’m going to do it; I’m ready to get started,” Shirley said.

Draft details of Shirley’s contract include a $98,000 annual salary and $600 per month for in-parish travel instead of providing him with an automobile. The contract would expire on Dec. 31, 2019.

The draft contract requires Shirley to present to the board within 90 days an improvement plan with a list of steps necessary to meet the plan’s goals.

“There’s a lot in the school systems that need to be looked at immediately,” Riley said. “I expect Mr. Shirley will look into it as soon as possible.”

At the end of the year, the board will come together to see how the parish schools have done under Shirley’s supervision.

The board will return at the next regular board meeting on July 13 to determine performance goals and finalize Shirley’s contract.