GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - He's been at the helm of Harrison County schools longer than any current superintendent in Mississippi. Today, Henry Arledge announced he's finally ready to retire. The Harrison County Schools Superintendent will not seek re-election in 2015.
The 72-year old Arledge took over the superintendent's position back in 1980. Since then, the district has built seven new schools and saw an enrollment spike from 9,400 students to more than 14,000 students.
Arledge says one of his greatest achievements is helping the district bounce back from Hurricane Katrina. "After Katrina, we built two new high schools and about $100 million worth of construction, worked very closely with MEMA and FEMA and with Harrison County Emergency Management during that time period, just trying to serve the people of this district," touted Arledge.
Arledge has been with the Harrison County School District for a total of 48-years, starting his career there as a teacher. His last day on the job is December 15.
On the Harrison County School District website is this message from Arledge. "Progress in this district is reflected through a technology enhanced curriculum," he writes, "which addresses the needs of the individual child, a wide range of extra curricular activities, a diverse and successful sports program, and building programs, which are on-going to meet the ever growing student population. A greater emphasis on education throughout our state is beginning to produce results in the Harrison County Schools. As we strive to work closely with parents, teachers and the community, continued improvements are certainly expected."
Arledge is the third elected leader who will skip the 2015 elections. Long time circuit clerks Joe Martin and Gayle Parker both announced this week they will also retire.