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School district begins superintendent search

The Brookhaven School District announced this week that it has officially begun a search to replace retiring superintendent Ray Carlock.

Carlock is retiring at the end of the current school year, and his successor will start July 1, 2020, according to a statement from the school board.

The job announcement has been posted on the district’s website as well as other education websites. The school board will accept applications through Dec. 4.

As part of its job announcement, the district also released its application materials, which include the state requirements for superintendents. The board is also seeking information about school district accountability ratings for applicants who have worked as a superintendent before. For principals applying, the board seeks information about school-level accountability ratings.

The board also released its information brochure, which is designed to attract candidates to the school district. The brochure lists basic information on the district and its schools, such as enrollment numbers, and also highlights homecoming activities, the district’s Quest program, Lincoln County Scholars and athletic accomplishments.

“We anticipate a number of applications; and the board will review them and begin the interview process in January, 2020,” the board’s statement reads.

Carlock was hired after Ben Cox retired in 2016 after two years in the job. Lisa Karmacharya, who was hired in 2011, resigned as superintendent in June 2013 with two years left on her contract after criticism and low performance in the state accountability ratings. Two days later, Stephanie Henderson was unanimously voted in as interim superintendent. She served seven months until Cox was hired.

The Brookhaven School District earned a C on the state report card in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016,  up from a D in 2015.

Carlock faced plenty of challenges during his time as superintendent. In 2017, two Brookhaven students were killed in a shooting spree that left six others, including a sheriff’s deputy, dead.

A year later, a controversial halftime performance by a visiting team’s band shocked and outraged Brookhaven. It had been just days since two police officers were shot and killed in the city.

In 2018, Carlock was involved in public hearings over the non-renewal of a principal’s contract. After lengthy hearings, the school board upheld Carlock’s recommendation.

Earlier this year, the school district called for an $8 million bond referendum to fund improvements at the district. It passed easily with 78 percent of the vote.

“Today showed that everyone truly takes pride in saying ‘We are Ole Brook,’” Carlock said after the vote.

Applications for the opening can be submitted online at the Brookhaven School District website or mailed to Superintendent Search, P. O. Box 1133, Brookhaven, Mississippi 39602.

School board attorney Bob Allen is listed as the contact for applicants. The information released by the school board does not include salary for the position.