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Laurel School District partners will state organization, superintendent search underway

LAUREL, MS. - Parts of the article is written by the Laurel School District.

During the special called meeting Tuesday, the Laurel School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved to contract with the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) to assist with the search for a new superintendent.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Dr. Chuck Benigno announced his last day in the district will be December 31, 2017. Dr. Benigo started with the district in 2010 and will join the faculty at William Carey University.

Since the Mississippi School Boards Association launched its superintendent search service in 2006, MSBA has conducted over 80 searches statewide.

Board President Miranda Beard says, "Many people realize and understand that the MSBA has great experience, national ties, great database, and a superintendent academy that they conduct annually.”

Recently MSBA conducted searches for Clinton, New Albany, Kosciusko, Greenville, Pass Christian and several others.

MSBA offers three levels in their scope of work – Complete Superintendent Search, Abridged Superintendent Search and Condensed Superintendent Search. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved a motion to allow MSBA to conduct an Abridged Superintendent Search. This search package includes all of the features of the Complete Superintendent Search with the exception of MSBA conducting the initial interview process leaving that in the hands of the local school board.

In addition to the Abridged Superintendent Search service, the board approved an additional 30-day national online job advertising package that includes advertisements with the American Association of School Administrators, National Alliance of Black School Educators and Education Week. The board additionally approved job advertising with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

Last month the Mississippi Legislature put a new law into effect in which all superintendents must have a certain criteria.

The district's legal counsel, Dick Yoder says, "The basic thing that the new law required is existing experience, service in an A or B school, or in a school where their performance or their accountability has been increased by one letter grade.”

On top of MSBA requirements the district has their own qualifications too. Beard says, "We are searching for an individual that can come in and not only motivate students to learn, but motivate staff with that energy and charisma."

She adds, " move the staff to a next level on top of expecting greatness from all students."

According to Yoder the Legislature is asking the Mississippi Department of Education to add another provision to the bill starting January 2018.

The added provision will most likely not affect the district's search as they are looking for someone to fill the position prior to December of 2017.

The official application and announcement brochure are expected to be available within the next two weeks. This information will be available at and

More information on MSBA:

According to information provided by MSBA, the searches are tailored to meet individual school boards and community needs and their search consultants have decades of school board and administrative experience

The services offered by MSBA will include preparing application materials, advertising, recruiting, processing applications, corresponding with candidates, conducting reference checks, establishing interview schedules, notifying unsuccessful candidates, assisting board attorney with preparation of employment contract and conducting of a transition workshop with board and new superintendent.



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