MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point's interim schools superintendent spent Friday morning getting teachers and administrators fired-up about the new school year. Dr. John Ladner's speech comes at a time when the school district is facing low test scores, accreditation troubles, and a change in leadership.
"If we're going to make sparks in Moss Point, let's make them fly high," Dr. Ladner shouted to the crowd gathered at Moss Point High School.
The pep rally began with cheers for the entire team in the Moss Point School District.
"Teachers stand up and be recognized," he told the principals and teachers.
Ladner got all 440 members pumped up for the new school year.
"I'm going to give them a vision of a better school district and a better year and I'm going to paint a very pretty picture of what it looks like and all the structure it will entail," said Ladner.
In his first address to the entire staff, Ladner didn't sugarcoat his remarks.
"Don't kid yourself. We've got some results on tests, and we're compared to other schools around the coastal area and our results are not very pleasing right now. We can't be satisfied with this," he told them.
So Ladner held a separate session with just the teachers. He asked how many in the crowd were born, raised, and educated in Moss Point and are now teaching in the district. A small group stood up.
But when he asked how many teachers work in Moss Point, but live out of town, he got a bigger response.
"We challenge you to move over here with us if you can. If you can't move over here with us, just keep on coming. Do not leave us. The children need stability," he told them.
Ladner urged the teachers to have a deeper commitment with the district. He also shared his eleven factors for success.
"We have got to have more challenging goals. We have got to have greater community input. We've got to make sure that our schools are safe and orderly," he said.
Ladner also pointed out that every child deserves a good education and encouraged the teachers to step it up a notch.
"We're not going to do anything in Moss Point that I'm going to be ashamed of," Ladner said. "I'm looking right at the camera and saying Moss Point is going to improve this year. Behind every good student is a good teacher."
He asked his entire team to help him achieve that goal.
"We're going to give them some good things to look at this year in Moss Point and I want you to join me in the celebrations we have throughout this year," said Ladner. "It really is a battle and a war, but we're going to win it. It's an uphill climb and we're going to climb it. We're going to do it all together."
Moss Point students return to school next Wednesday.