GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - It's tradition for Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich to visit every school on the first day back for students.
On Wednesday, he drove to each campus and walked into every classroom greeting students, teachers and other district employees. "Good morning. Hey. I'm Mr. Wayne Rodolfich. I'm your superintendent. I hope you have a great year," said Rodolfich as he walked into a classroom at Singing River Academy in Gautier.
He keeps a brisk pace. "Good morning. I'm Mr. Rodolfich. I'm you're superintendent. Welcome back to school and I hope you have a great school year," he said to another class.
"I don't know that it has a great impact outside of the fact that I'm letting everyone know that it's important that I come by and say, 'Hello. Good morning. Have a great year,' and just get the year off with a positive note to our teachers and students," said Rodolfich.
Moving was challenging for him this go round. "Well I've been doing it since I became superintendent. Every year it's a different challenge. Sometimes it rains. This year I've got plantar fasciitis, so it's gonna be a really challenge by the time we get done with it."
This is Pascagoula-Gautier School Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich's second stop, only 17 more schools to go. He's not the only one visiting this campus.
Principal Pam Rone is doing the same. "Hello. Good morning Singing River Academy," said Rone. "Our teachers they've worked all summer for this day. So it is like opening ceremonies at the Olympics. So it's a big deal for us."
This year Rone said the school added the FOSS science curriculum for 5th and 6th graders. "We're super excited about that a lot of hands on, engaging science experiments throughout their science curriculum," said Rone.
Also new this year is the middle and high school's career academy, sponsored by Ingalls.
The company will help with the academy's welding and machine shop. In terms of safety, Rodolfich said the district has already taken part in emergency drills over the summer. "We've coordinated at a lot higher level with police departments in Pascagoula and Gautier. We're very reactive whenever there is a situation as it relates to a student making a threat of any kind or we hear of a threat of any kind," said Rodolfich.
By the end of the first day of school, Rodolfich will have visited 19 total schools, 7,000 students in 500 classrooms.
Rodolfich said he and the assistant superintendent will be doing more home visits this year. In fact they've already started. He also said they are going to start making more parent contacts.
It's a new year, but in the 14 years of Rodolfich has been at the helm, each year has shared a common thread: a special visit from him on the student's first day.