As a youngster growing up in a rural area of Mississippi, I was blessed to grow up with two loving, supportive parents who were my inspiration and my confidants. For any professional and personal success I may have achieved in my life, the credit should go to my parents and the educators and mentors who taught and counseled me at every step along my path.
Growing up on a small farm taught me the value of hard work, perseverance, teamwork and the importance of relationships. Additionally, I watched my parents model the importance of serving and giving back to your community. Both served in the local civic and church groups and I also observed how they provided home-grown vegetables from our garden each year to those around who were less fortunate than we were. Of course I didn’t realize it at the time but they were demonstrating what “servant” leadership was all about!
As a inquisitive student in school, I always loved to read and to learn about all subjects. I loved sports but was not a good athlete. I participated on several sports teams and was mainly relegated to be a seldom used reserve. I was a part of several school clubs including the “Key Club” (Kiwanis affiliated), 4-H Club and the FFA (Future Farmers of America). Being a part of those sports and club teams taught me invaluable lessons regarding teamwork, service to others, commitment and gratitude. Those lessons have guided me throughout both my professional and personal life.
After high school graduation, I enrolled in a small community college close to where I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi. Based upon the positive experiences I had in school and the countless influential teachers who had taught and supported me, I focused on becoming a public school educator so that I might provide the same support and influence for others. After two years at Meridian Community College, I transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi where I majored in History and minored in Secondary Education. After graduating with Honors, I was hired as a teacher in a junior high school in the Meridian Public Schools. After my first year, I decided to enroll in a Masters program in Educational Administration at Mississippi State University at a satellite campus in Meridian where I took classes at night and the summers until earning that degree. After teaching six years at the middle grades, I transitioned to a high school where I taught government and economics for two years.
After serving eight years as a classroom teacher, I was provided an opportunity to serve as an assistant principal at Pascagoula High School in Pascagoula, Mississippi. I remained in that position for nine years and while serving in that role, I made the decision to begin work on my doctoral degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. At that point in time, each doctoral student was required to serve a residency on the main campus so for three years, I drove the 200 miles round trip twice a week during the regular and summer sessions to complete my course work. After a successful completion of the coursework and defense of my dissertation, I graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership with a minor in Educational Research.
After completing my doctorate, I transitioned to the principal position at Colmer Junior High School in the Pascagoula School District. After a one-year tenure, I was asked to move to an assistant superintendent position in the district office where I served for six years under two different superintendents. After those six years, I was appointed Superintendent of Schools for the Pascagoula School District. During my tenure in Pascagoula, I served in the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, United Way and worked with church and recreational sports.
After serving twenty years in the Pascagoula School District and four years as the superintendent, I was contacted by a colleague to inquire if I might be interested in a leadership position outside of my home state of Mississippi. After a great deal of thought and prayer, I decided to apply for the Director of Schools (Superintendent) in the Franklin Special School District in Franklin, Tennessee.
My tenure began in July, 2001 and I am privileged to continue to serve in that position today. Realizing this length of tenure in one school district is definitely an anomaly, we have been blessed to work with a significant number of awesome parents, teachers, leaders and board members. Our collaborative work has continued to enhance the educational achievement and growth of our students. We are proud of the success and understand the importance of continuous improvement of everyone in order to expand the teaching and learning horizons for ALL children and educators in the Franklin Special School District.
My wife, Kathy, and I have three children and seven grandchildren and we continue to enjoy observing their maturation process into successful productive young men and women. We enjoy traveling, reading and spending time on the water. I also enjoy playing golf when there is an opportunity.
Past AASA Tennessee Superintendent of the Year Winners:
2023 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year: Dr. Danny Weeks
2021 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year: Bryan Johnson
About the Award:
The Superintendent of the Year program, sponsored by First Student and AASA, pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools.
State-level winners are selected on the following criteria:
- Leadership for Learning
- Community Involvement