School board vote to fire Hancock superintendent was unanimous

The Hancock County School Board voted to terminate its contract with Superintendent Teresa...
The Hancock County School Board voted to terminate its contract with Superintendent Teresa Merwin Thursday night at a special called meeting.(wlox)
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 7:00 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The Hancock County School Board voted Thursday night to terminate its contract with Superintendent Teresa Merwin.

The vote came during a special called meeting, and board attorney Mark Alexander tells WLOX News it was a unanimous decision. All five school board members were there and voted. The termination was effective immediately.

The school board released a short statement saying, “Such a decision is not taken lightly; however, the Board is confident that our principals and District leaders are the collective team necessary to guide the District to greatness. The Board will immediately begin a search for an interim Superintendent and permanent Superintendent.”

WLOX reached out to board members and Merwin for further comment, but as of Friday evening no one is talking about the decision or even hinting at why Merwin was let go.

Theresa Merwin has a long history of work in the Hancock County School District. She served as a teacher at Hancock High School and Hancock County Career Technical Center, and as an assistant principal at Hancock North Elementary School and West Hancock Elementary School. She was named superintendent in July 2021.

Merwin’s predecessor, Alan Dedeaux, served as the district’s superintendent for 13 years.

Many parents in the district expressed shock as news of Merwin’s dismissal spread late Thursday night and Friday morning. One comment from the WLOX Facebook page summed it up asking, “What on earth could have happened in such a short amount of time?”

Other comments show in her short time leading the district, Merwin made a big impression.

“With all of my years in being involved with Hancock, Mrs. Merwin is the absolute BEST asset to the school district and has done more in one year than some have done in all of their years in that position,” one parent wrote. “We FINALLY get someone in the office that puts children first and does things that us parents have been begging for, for years! I’d be willing to bet that Mrs. Merwin stepped on a few toes and put people in their places and they didn’t like it.”

Another parent wrote, “I spoke to her about an issue and she listens and is truly vested in the kids. She made much needed positive changes in dress code. She is needed here!!”

The school board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Monday, August 29.

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