Okolona Mayor Louise Cole addressed the new trustees, and the public gathered for the ceremony, to thank them for their service to the school and community.
“I have the honor of hearing the oath of office for five of the finest people in our community,” Cole said. “They have the ability, know how and determination.”
Judge John Andrew Gregory swore in the new board which consists of three members with backgrounds in education and two in business. Sara Jenkins, Dr. Jerome D. Smith, Bill Stewart, William Bailey and Nancy Sullivan all joined right hands together on the Bible to take their oath and Jenkins said that is the goal of the board, to work together for the future of education in the community.
“I’m ready to try to do something and see some growth for our school with everybody working together,” Jenkins said.
Sullivan said the first priority of the board is to begin the search for a Superintendent. The ensuing search will take time and the board wants to make sure they have the right person for the job. Conservator John “Mac” Curlee said he will stay on board through the search.
“This is certainly a red letter day for the school district,” Curlee said. “I look forward to working with the new members.”
Cole joked with Curlee and the board about the hire of a new district leader.
“I have gotten to know Mr. Curlee and I like him, but your job is to find someone to replace him,” Cole laughed.
Nathaniel Cunningham, who had voiced his displeasure over the delay in seating a new board, commended the new members for their service.
“I thank all five people for stepping up and taking on this task,” Cunningham said.
The new board members move into the current positions of the former members who were released from duty when the district came under conservatorship. Sullivan, who replaced Howard Gunn, will see her seat come up for election March 2, 2013 as the term for the seat expires. Bailey’s seat will be up for election in 2014.
The board is determining a monthly meeting date and time and will begin regular meetings in January.