Hiring of new Harrison Co. School District superintendent has some concerned about lack of transparency

Hiring of new Harrison Co. School District superintendent has some concerned about lack of transparency

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Some parents with children in the Harrison County School District are upset with what they say is a lack of transparency by the district in the hiring process of a new superintendent.

The Harrison County School Board appointed its new superintendent during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday. At the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, concerned parents questioned why the process wasn’t made public.

“As parents, we’re here to be on the same team as you. We all want the same thing for our kids. We just want to be included,” one concerned parent told the board at the meeting.

The law requires the school board to appoint the new superintendent, but for one concerned parent, it’s a process she feels should include other parents in the district.

“I just don’t understand why it feels like y’all don’t want us to be a part of the process,” she said. “I’m requesting that you reconsider and open this interview process so that we can at least witness it.”

After hearing those concerns, the school board entered an executive session to interview the three candidates and vote on who will become the new superintendent.

“In the executive session, they did complete interviews and, because of the Privacy Act, we are not prepared to announce the new superintendent,” said Harrison County School Board President Dr. Barbara Thomas. “As soon as we have a contract signed, we will release [the name of] the new superintendent.”

Also in attendance at the school board meeting was Aldon Helmert, who feels the board acted too quickly in making their decision.

“They met at 4 p.m. and at 8 p.m., they had already extended an offer to a candidate,” said Helmert. “I think that that would have to speak volumes to the process.”

It’s a hiring process that Helmert believes should include input from students, teachers, and parents to make sure the district is heading in the right direction.

“We want them to do well. Whoever it is that this board has selected, we want them to do well because the future of our children depend on it,” said Helmert.

WLOX reached out to the Harrison County School District for comment, but so far have not received a response.

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