MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point School Superintendent Kim Staley is begging for a second chance and patience to resurrect the district. But his future, and that of the district remain uncertain, now that the district is on the state's accreditation probation list.
Staley's contract wasn't renewed, but he's fighting to keep his job. He told WLOX News he loves the job, but admits leading the district has been major challenge since day one.
"Financially, since I have been here, it has been somewhat struggling. Academically, under the old system, we were barely holding on to a level three," said Staley.
The superintendent testified Wednesday that in his four years on the job, he's been working hard to turn things around.
"I have to be honest with you, you have to have good principals and you got to have good teachers."
Staley said he's recruited dozens of highly qualified educators to help the kids excel in the classroom.
"We were able to raise that from 77 percent over the years to 89-90 percentile."
He also bragged about recently getting a $2.6 million grant for school improvements, as well as cutting frivolous district spending.
"Matter of fact, the staff had started calling me real cheap because with everything, they had to show me how it was going to affect student achievement," Staley said.
But the non-renewal letter from the school board tells a different story. The board said Staley was not doing enough to help schools that were on the state's at risk of failing list. The board also cited Staley's lack of communication skills.
"Communication was through board updates, as well as I communicate directly with the board president through emails, phone calls and conversations."
While some people may wonder why Staley would stay in a place he is not wanted, his answer is simple: the kids.
"The problem was the focus wasn't on the children, it was on adults, and what they wanted and thought. But you have to build a relationship with the children."
The appeal hearing will continue sometime next month. And once the testimony has wrapped up in the case, a report will be given to the school board.
In the meantime, School Board President Clifton Magee said the district is working on hiring a interim superintendent, because Staley's contract runs out at the end of this month.