Hancock County School District appoints new superintendent

The Hancock County School Board voted Monday to drop the interim title and officially make Rhett Ladner the district's new school superintendent.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 7:33 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2022 at 11:31 AM CST
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - As of Monday night, Rhett Ladner is the new superintendent of Hancock County School District.

The school board voted Monday to drop the interim superintendent title and give Ladner the position. He officially starts Tuesday, December 13, 2022, and his contract runs until June 30, 2025.

Ladner was named interim superintendent in August after the board dismissed former superintendent Teresa Merwin, who was elected in May 2021.

The vote to fire Merwin came during a special called meeting, and board attorney Mark Alexander told 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 no one would talk about the decision or even hint at why Merwin was let go.

Many parents in the district expressed shock as news of Merwin’s dismissal spread in August. Some suggested Merwin made a positive impression on the district. Some said they were shocked at the termination. All wanted answers.

“I just want to have a good understanding of why the situation warranted an immediate termination, because I just don’t understand that,” one resident said.

WLOX attended a board meeting following the termination and asked each school board member for comment on the residents’ concerns, but they all declined to comment.

Legally, the school board isn’t required to give the specific reason for firing the superintendent since it is a personnel matter.

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