Thursday, January 28, 2010
Moore assistant leader of district
Jerry Moore has worn most every hat in the Marshall County School District.
And he’s adding more. As of January 4, he’s the deputy superintendent.
“Now I’m learning transportation – that’s been interesting,” Moore said. “At 6:45 in the morning, my cell phone starts ringing (with bus issues) and then I start all my other jobs.”
For the past six years, he has been responsible for curriculum, grants, instructional services, federal programs and state testing. He will continue to fulfill those duties and add transportation, special services, and English Language Learners (ELL) services.
“Jerry and I have been acquainted professionally for more than 10 years,” said superintendent of education Don Randolph, who reassigned Moore after the recent retirement of R.C. Anderson. “While working with Jerry, I have been continually impressed with his commitment to excellence.
“I have observed his leadership skills, his sense of humor and his tactful administrative style which qualify him for this position. He is uncompromising in his quest for quality educational opportunities for all our children in the Marshall County School District.”
For Moore, who started as a classroom teacher and coach, it’s all about the young people.
“I love children,” he said. “It’s so much fun to guide students in the right direction.”
Moore grew up in Holly Springs and graduated from Marshall Academy. He has a B.S. degree from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., and a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi.
His first job in education was at Fayette Academy in Fayette, Tenn. Then he went to Magnolia Heights in Senatobia and Marshall Academy.
Moore enjoyed his time at MA and learned a lot, he said. While he was teaching there, Charles King urged him to one day go into administration.
“He told me I could make more of a difference,” he said. “I appreciate his advice. I knew I could do more.”
Moore was hired by the Marshall County School District 15 years ago as a teacher and coach at Byhalia High School.
“Mike Hamblin (then principal at Byhalia) gave me my first job (with the county schools), and it’s been a great move,” Moore said.
“Some of my greatest years of teaching – my best times – were at Byhalia High School. I had a great time teaching U.S. history there. I developed a very special bond with the students; they were great.”
He also helped build the Indian baseball program. Winless in his first season as coach, he recalls that first win the next year.
“The parents, athletes, community members all ran onto the diamond for a pile-on session,” Moore said. “I will never forget how excited everyone was.
“Bubba Brown (who remains the coach) took over and carried the program to new heights. It was fun laying that foundation.”
He transferred to Potts Camp School in 1997. He is thankful to Donnal Ash, then superintendent, for giving him his first job in administration. Moore was assistant principal, alternative school principal and district testing coordinator for the entire district.
“I would spend a few hours at the alternative school (then on the Potts Camp campus), a few hours at Potts Camp School and also visit the other schools working on testing,” Moore said. “Those years at Potts Camp were great years. The community was very supportive of all we tried to implement, particularly increasing test scores.”
In 2004, the school board, upon the recommendation of a newly-elected Randolph, transferred Moore to the central office.
“When I came here (to the central office) I wanted better communication between our schools and accountability so our students would have a greater opportunity to learn. And in striving for those goals, we needed more materials and equipment.
“I feel we’ve come a long way in the years I’ve been with the district.
“Each year we’ve taken positive steps. We have a very supportive school board. Every idea I’ve taken to them, they’ve questioned me, helped me tweak it and helped me push it forward.
“You can only do so much in a year. We’ve established short-term and long-term goals, and now we’re even seeing some of our long-term goals come to fruition. It’s exciting.”
Moore almost took a different career path. He switched his major to business but didn’t like it.
“I had to sit back and refocus,” he said.
He was reading the Bible – Matthew 18 and 19 – where Christ talked about children and how important it is to handle them with care.
“So many children need somebody,” Moore said. “I still read those verses often. Those verses drove me back into education. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew what would make me happy.”
His wife Wendy is a first grade teacher at Mary Reid. They have three sons who have attended county schools since kindergarten – Miles, 16, a junior at Potts Camp; Morgan, 12, a sixth grader at Potts Camp; and Mason, 7, a second grader at Mary Reid. The family attends Holly Springs Church of Christ, where Moore is a deacon.
“Our goal when Wendy and I moved back here was to get into the public schools,” Moore said. “We saw a great need – as far as helping children. We saw so many things they didn’t have – equipment, proper instruction, facilities – and we wanted to make that happen.
“Our goal out of college was to come here and help change the learning culture and afford the children a better opportunity to learn.”
In recent accountability standards released by the Mississippi Department of Education, two county schools – Potts Camp Attendance Center and H.W. Byers High School – are classified as “successful” based on testing results. Others are seeing improvement.
“I want all of our schools to be successful,” Moore said. “It’s a step-by-step process. I’m excited about the future of the district – where it can go.”
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