Thursday, April 5, 2007
Basil unopposed for superintendent in Union County
By BARRY BURLESON
Ken Basil is taking a step up the educational leadership ladder and shifting his employment back to his home county of Union.
The Potts Camp principal for the past three years is running unopposed as a candidate for the superintendent of education in Union County. He will officially take office on January 2, 2008.
“My move has nothing to do with anything at Potts Camp,” said Basil, a native of Myrtle. “I’ve been overwhelmed here with the support of the students, teachers, faculty and people at the central office.
“This has been three of the most wonderful years I’ve had in 22 years in education. I love the kids here. The staff here is great. This is simply a step up.
“The Lord led me here to Potts Camp and He’s leading me to this new position.”
Basil has worked at three of the four schools in the Union County system – West Union, East Union and Myrtle. He also served in the Starkville and Blue Mountain schools. As a coach, he led the West Union girls to the state tournament six straight years and they won two state championships. The other school in the district is Ingomar.
“I had a lot of people in Union County encouraging me to run (for superintendent),” Basil said, “and because the people there wanted me, that influenced my decision. Not until Christmas this past year did I feel that is what the Lord wanted me to do.”
He will replace John Weeden, who has served one term.
“The people in Union County know me,” Basil said. “If you treat people the way you want to be treated and stand firm in your beliefs, everything else seems to fall into place. I treat everybody the same. People know I will always try to do what’s right.”
He will have a great challenge and opportunity right off the bat. Toyota is locating a new assembly plant in the corner of Union County, just a few miles from Myrtle. It is scheduled to be in operation by 2010.
Toyota has announced it will donate $5 million a year, starting in 2010 and continuing for 10 years, to the schools in Union, Pontotoc and Lee counties, for splitting three ways.
“From the information I’m receiving, that’s just a drop in the bucket for what Toyota will do for these communities,” Basil said. “The company is very community-minded.
“I was very excited (about being superintendent) before Toyota’s announcement and now it is even more exciting. Tremendous changes are coming to Union County. We will be looking at the project and the anticipated growth, and I know Pontotoc and Lee counties are doing the same. We will definitely be promoting Union County schools.”
Basil also plans to make a personal trip soon to Georgetown, Ky., and tour Toyota’s facility there.
“I will be very visible as a superintendent,” he said. “I will let the staffs know they can talk to me, and I will help.”
Goals include improving technology, a more diverse curriculum, plus adding football and band and all that goes with it “somewhere in Union County,” he said.
“Union County has a rich tradition in athletics, and we want to keep that going and expand it,” Basil said.
He said Potts Camp, when he does walk out the door for the last time, will always remain dear to his heart.
“The staff here is the strength of the school,” Basil said. “They do their jobs and do them well.
“I’m big on doing things that have never been done. Last year a group went to Washington, D.C. This year the seniors will take a trip to Disney World. We have restarted the cheerleading program.
“We’ve tried to build self-esteem at this school. The kids here are as good as any around.”
Basil said the school has “very much” progressed academically.
“You always want to leave things better,” he said. “I can look in the mirror and know this school is a better place, not because of me, but because of all of us. It has been a team effort.
“This community loves the school.”
He particularly thanked assistant principal Ray Kennedy for his initiative and assistance, plus Don Randolph, superintendent of education in Marshall County.
“Mr. Randolph is one of the best, if not the best, superintendents I’ve ever worked for,” he said. “That’s largely because he doesn’t play politics. He’s been good to me and to this school. He holds everyone accountable, and I like that.”
Basil and his wife Christi have two sons, Tyler, 14, and Hayden, 8.
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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