Due to the high risk of severe weather forecast for Thursday evening, the welcome reception for SOCSD incoming superintendent Dr. Eddie Peasant is rescheduled for April 20.
The Board of Trustees named Peasant the District’s new superintendent on February 28.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity to lead the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District,” said Peasant. “I knew within minutes of visiting the first school and talking with invested stakeholders that this is a District rich with excellence and ready to take the next step forward, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”The board voted unanimously to select Peasant, a former Mississippi Administrator of the Year, to lead the District. Peasant is currently assistant superintendent of the Tupelo School District, where he oversees secondary education, athletics, technology, dual enrollment and discipline. Peasant has also served as principal of Clinton High School and Gulfport Middle School.
The board agreed Peasant’s successes and experiences at the secondary level make him uniquely qualified for the District’s top position as it prepares to begin construction on a new sixth and seventh grade school that combines the resources of SOCSD and Mississippi State University and promises to reimagine middle school and teacher training in Mississippi and beyond.
“He’s been a highly-effective administrative leader in large, diverse school districts like SOCSD where academics, arts, athletics and extra-curricular offerings are equally important to a student’s comprehensive educational experience,” said former school board president Jenny Turner. “He’s also very familiar with the transition from middle school to high school, and he’s very knowledgeable about how ninth grade academies can improve student achievement which falls in line with the District’s future plans for Armstrong Middle School.”
The consolidation plan for the new District calls for Armstrong Middle School to become a preparatory school for eighth and ninth grade students after the MSU-SOCSD Partnership School opens for sixth and seventh grade students.
“The District is already considered a model for successful consolidation, and the potential that exists through the partnership with Mississippi State University and a new school for middle grades is limitless,” said Peasant. “I’ve been doing my homework studying the plans for the new school, but like everyone else, I can’t wait for construction to get started. I know the greater Starkville community is ready to see the bricks and mortar of this project begin to take shape.”
As high school principal, Peasant wrote “Improving Student Achievement: Can 9th Grade Academies Make a Difference?,” which was published in the International Journal of Education Policy & Leadership.
“The consolidation plan offers us a wonderful opportunity to rethink our approach to preparing eighth and ninth graders for high school and to provide a more nurturing environment and really gets them ready to make the transition to high school,” said Peasant.
Peasant spent an entire day in the district as part of the interview process, visiting schools and meeting with four stakeholder focus groups before interviewing with the school board.
Peasant earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi and his master’s degree from Mississippi College.
“It’s an exciting time for our community and our district as we prepare to break ground on one of the most innovative schools from programs to facilities for 6th and 7th grades in the southeast,” added Turner. “We’re ready to take the next step forward with Dr. Peasant.”
Peasant’s official start date is July 1.