Deliberations continue in search for new JPS superintendent


By Othor Cain,



During a telephone interview Monday, Drs. Jeanne Middleton Hairston and Ed Sivak discussed the status of the superintendent search for the Jackson Public Schools District (JPS).

“When this board was seated, we knew we were in a state of emergency…we knew we had heavy-lifting to do…we knew we had to operate with a sense of urgency and address some immediate concerns,” said Hairston, president of the Board of Trustees for JPS. “We are still governing like that.”

It is because of that governing that a decision has not been made. The interview is detailed below.

As one would imagine, we asked about the self imposed deadline of July 1 to name a new superintendent, that they did not meet.

Response: It was our decision to put that deadline in place…not any other outside entity. We had hoped we would have met it, but we didn’t. We are still doing our due diligence.

LINK: What is the hold up?

Response: We have requested an Attorney General’s opinion to make sure the candidates meet the state’s statutory requirements. This process takes 30 days. We have to get on the AG’s calendar.

LINK: Are you on the calendar/has the information been submitted?

Response: Yes. Our information was submitted by mail June 12. Again it takes 30 days, so this gives you some idea of where we are in the process.

LINK: If you hired an outside firm to help you with the search, why wasn’t it the responsibility of the firm to bring forward candidates that met the requirements?

Response: The firm does background checks in the areas of education, financial, criminal and more. At the end of the day, this falls on the board to make sure they can work in Mississippi and that they meet our requirements. We are at that stage. Again, we are doing our due diligence and we appreciate the community’s engagement.

LINK: What impact will this have on the next school year, since it appears you will not name a new superintendent before the start of school?

Response: We are hopeful and pretty confident that we will have someone named before school starts and that they will be in place then or shortly thereafter. Additionally, everyone knows a transition is coming and we are all operating in that vein.

LINK: The board, at its last meeting updated Dr. Murray’s contract, what did you change, add or delete?

Response: His contract was set to expire; we essentially extended it. In his previous contract as is this one, it assures Dr. Murray that when a new superintendent is named, he will assume the role of deputy superintendent.

“I want the public to understand that we are intentional when it comes to getting this right,” Siavk, vice president of the Board of Trustees for JPS, said. “We all want to see this district turn around and we are confident that we are going to select a leader that can do just that.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.