BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale will retire at the end of the school year. He made the surprise announcement during a teachers' workshop at the junior high school Monday morning.
After sharing news about district wide improvements and ongoing budget challenges facing education, Dr. Tisdale told teachers he's stepping down at the end of June. He's serving his seventh year as Biloxi superintendent and has been in education nearly four decades.
Dr. Tisdale has always said he'd remain on the job as long as it was still fun, provided he still had the backing of the school board and as long as he wasn't losing money because of the state's retirement system.
"All of these things are true, except for the last," said Tisdale, as he told teachers of his decision to step down.
"It's most advantageous for me to retire at the end of this school year. It's been a grand adventure for 36 years," said the longtime educator.
Dr. Tisdale received a standing ovation from his teachers and administrators.
The Biloxi superintendent said he's especially proud the district has achieved much success in student performance and accountability.
"We re-teach and re-test. We offer 'power hour' to those kids who need a little more time during the day. We're extending the school day with before school and after school programs at the elementary school level. And the accountability issues are going to become more challenging," he said.
Three national blue ribbon school nominees in the past five years are among the academic performance highlights under his leadership.
Dr. Tisdale said what he'll miss most is the interaction with others, especially the youngsters.
"The higher the administrative ladder you climb, really the less direct contact you have with kids. And of course that's why we all go into education to begin with, that's the contact with the kids and making a difference."
His successor will likely find continuing financial challenges facing the school district. Dr. Tisdale talked about uncertain state funding levels during his remarks to the teachers.
"The reality is that for the current school year, K-12 education was cut more than the rest of the state budget. And public schools have been allocated a reduced share of the budget each year since 2008," he explained to the workshop attendees.
"It was a treat to go to school at Biloxi schools, graduate from Biloxi High, teach and be a principal in this district, them serve as superintendent. It's been an honor," said Dr. Tisdale.
One of the recent controversies facing the superintendent is the ongoing campaign by some to try and re-open Nichols Elementary School, which was shut down as a cost-cutting move because of a lack of students in East Biloxi. During his remarks Monday morning, Dr. Tisdale reiterated there are no plans to re-open the school.