Long Beach superintendent prepares to retire

Long Beach superintendent prepares to retire

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The Long Beach School District will soon be on the hunt for a new leader, recently announcing the retirement of Superintendent Carrolyn Hamilton.

After 28 years with the district, Hamilton says she will miss the people the most.

"When you retire, you don't quit caring about the children, and the students, and the parents, and the staff. I am blessed that I have this opportunity in Long Beach," said Hamilton.

Since taking over as superintendent in 2003, Hamilton has celebrated two National Blue Ribbon Schools, and year after year of highly-ranked state test scores.

In April 2005, a $12 million bond issue went up for a vote to build a new Long Beach High School, failing  by just 30 votes. The school board had hoped to hold a special election in November that same year, but then Katrina hit and wiped out the city's tax base.

"That's one thing I regret that I wasn't able to do while I was here. We need that high school desperately, and whenever we have the tax base to do that, I will be glad to come in and go door to door and do whatever's needed," Hamilton noted.

Following the storm came another challenge; a loss in state funding which forced the district to cut jobs.

Hamilton says talk of building a new high school started when she was a freshman and her dad was the district's superintendent.

"This is my community. I plan to live here. I love Long Beach. I would want this for all the children here. They need something better than what we can provide," she said.

Hamilton says her proudest achievement is re-opening schools soon after Hurricane Katrina destroyed one building, and damaged four other campuses.

"Whatever it would take, we'd get these schools ready to open in October and we accomplished that," said Hamilton. "I'm very proud of that."

Hamilton struggled with the decision to retire, but ultimately decided to spend more time with her family, especially her three grandchildren.

"I just hope I've left the district a little bit better, maybe, than I found it. I know this district's been very good to me and I just want continued success. Our people deserve it," said Hamilton. "It's been wonderful and I've had tremendous support from everybody, and that means an awful lot. I'll miss this district, but I am excited about starting the next phase."

Hamilton's time with the district included as stint band director, and principal of three schools.  Her last day will be June 30.

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