The Starkville Spark Story

SOCSD branding graphic introducing the Starkville Spark campaignIt begins with a spark.

Curiosity comes alive. Creativity awakens. The fire of excellence ignites.

Through rigorous and relevant learning experiences in every classroom, Starkville Oktibbeha School District is sparking the flame of success in our students, preparing them to be college and career ready.

This is our commitment to every student, every day.
Find the spark. And fuel it.

The Story

In 2013 the former Starkville School District embarked on a process of strategic planning aimed at identifying goals to move the district into a new level of success. Over 60 stakeholders including parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders participated in a vigorous series of discussions on how to best impact Starkville and Oktibbeha County through educational opportunities.

In June 2013, the Board of Trustees adopted an 8-point comprehensive strategic plan for the future of the District.  In response to Goal 8 of this plan, the District launched a bold branding and marketing campaign designed to highlight the strengths of our schools and to tell the story of our students and educators to a broader audience. But, it didn’t end there.

As the District launched its efforts to tell the story of the “Starkville Spark,” we found that it did, indeed, “spark” a new and bolder conversation about the excellence found in our students, teachers and community.


In Our Own Words


“We chose this District, because we wanted our daughters to learn from great teachers, have opportunities to take numerous Advanced Placement courses in high school, be in an environment that supports and celebrates the arts, and have opportunities to have a great time playing high school sports. Starkville High School has given our girls ALL of these opportunities in an environment that challenges students intellectually and celebrates community and diversity.” 

~ Nelle Cohen, Parent

“I love the moment when natural curiosity meets science, and I see eyes open wide and corners of mouths curve into smiles. That is spark!  It doesn’t matter the background or ability of a student- when they truly learn in an engaging and fun way, they are excited and want to learn more!

I have been so incredibly fortunate to work with wonderful- and I mean WONDERFUL, caring, determined, supportive teachers and administrators within the Starkville Oktibbeha School District as well. I admire the “big family” of dedicated educators that make SOCSD run like a well-oiled machine. That too is a spark for me and I feel fortunate to be a small part of it.”

~ Jessica Tegt, YES! Instructor/Director

“SOCSD is a place where excellence is valued and practiced.  This excellence provides a spark to our whole community and makes Starkville a great place to live.

Whether it is the fine arts program, the choir, sports, science fair, JROTC, journalism, poetry contests or any other competition, students in SOCSD are prepared by their teachers to compete with the best anywhere.  

Awards Day at the high school is a big spark!  Dozens upon dozens of students are recognized for achievement, and millions of dollars in scholarship money is announced.  It demonstrates the wide range of excellence at SOCSD and the culmination of hard work by students, parents, teachers and administrators.”  

~ Brother Rogers, Parent

“The energy and enthusiasm of the faculty and administration at Ward Stewart inspire me to continually improve my teaching craft so that I can discover the spark that lies within my own students.”

~ Tassie Rosamond, Ward Stewart Elementary School

“Coach Adair’s AP European History class taught me how to embrace a challenge and thrive under pressure.  It sparked a flame that will carry me through my college career.”

~ Jack Bryan, Valedictorian, SHS Class of 2013

“Where else can a kid earn a state-championship ring in both football and soccer;  imagine and create a state-champion robot ranking in the top ten throughout the southeastern United States at the BEST Robotics regional competition at Auburn University; and then earn the highest possible Advanced Placement national exam score in calculus and history – all within the same year?”

~ Ty Adair, SHS History Teacher, Mississippi History Teacher of the Year

“My experience at SHS with its diverse group of people really prepared me to meet a lot of different kinds of people at Stanford while the teachers at SHS were able to motivate me into caring about my learning.  Their passion and kindness showed me how the classroom material was relevant to my life.”

~ Brian Xu, National Merit Finalist, SHS Class of 2012

“Every aspect of my endeavors, be it my work ethic, accomplishments, or self-confidence, is a testament to the incredible faculty of SHS and their unparalled devotion to their students.”  

~ Mary Kate Hughes, SHS Class of 2012, 2014 Stagelighter Break into Broadway Winner


gray line