Thursday, March 30, 2023

Mike Kent is Super (For Awhile)

 The Mississippi Department of Education issued the following statement. 

The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) has named Mike Kent interim state superintendent of education to serve April 3 through June 30 and announced plans to appoint a long-term interim superintendent to begin July 1.  

Kent has served as interim deputy superintendent at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) since 2012, after retiring as superintendent of the Madison County School District where he served for more than a decadeHe brings more than 40 years of experience working in public education in Mississippi as a teacher, coach, principal, superintendent and state administrator.  

Kents role at the MDE has included leadership training for superintendents and principals, overseeing the transition to the state’s A-F accountability system, leading legislatively mandated school district consolidations and supporting the state’s Districts of Transformation and Achievement School District. During his tenure as superintendent of the Madison County School District, Kentensured the district’s consistently high academic performance, passed three school bond referendums totaling close to $200 million and oversaw construction of 13 school campuses. Kent served on the Board of Trustees of Holmes Community College from 2000 to 2011 and served on the executive boards of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents, the Mississippi High School Activities Association and the Madison County Business League.  

“Mike Kent has deep roots and experience in Mississippi’s public school system at the state and district level and is respected throughout the state for his wisdom and effective leadership,” said Rosemary Aultman, SBE chair. “The Board is confident he will provide continuity in leadership of the Mississippi Department of Education during this transition. 

The SBE will set a timeline for its search for a permanent state superintendent of education at a later date.  



Anonymous said...

No need to search for anyone else. Submit his name to the Senate before they go home.

Anonymous said...

If Mike Kent had been named the State Superintendent 30 years ago, our public schools might be in good shape. This guy is a freaking rock star.

Anonymous said...

My 11th grade history teacher and baseball coach at the old Madison-Ridgeland High School. Great selection!

Anonymous said...

@8:20, exactly right. Not only is he a fine educator and a fine man (and a good baseball coach) but he's got "good walking around sense" and that's needed to oversee the MDE Bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

He’s white so guessing he would be approved easily. No other information needed.

Anonymous said...

Typical of the good old boy system we’ve come to know and love in Mississippi. Back to business as usual. The only item you could use to reject Dr. Taylor was a paper from more than 20 years ago. Dr. Taylor has more education than some of our state legislators combined. But for some reason, the good old boy network prevails. And we wonder why there is a brain drain of our best and brightest running to other states. Way to go Mississippi!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kent appears to be a great choice. I wonder if he ever applied for the state Sup job? Special thanks to the local Moms For Liberty organization and all others who took a stand voicing a “NO” on Taylor. Grass root efforts are still the real strength of democracy.

Don Drane said...

I've lost track of Mike's age and have no idea if he would want or take the job, but he's a great guy, proven/fine educator, proven coach, great with students and faculty alike, level headed and dedicated to Mississippi. He's been successful at every stop along the way.

Kent is not a transient or someone looking for a high salary or interested in PERS vesting since he's been a PERS retiree for years already.

And he would have to give up his current retirement benefit if he were to become permanent as opposed to contract.

My guess is he doesn't want the job on a permanent basis and Mississippi missed the boat by not putting him in this position when he first retired.

There is no good reason for the Board putting us in this situation to begin with.

The Board gave us a pig in a poke when they hired Carey Wright and they brought in another pig in the back of a truck with the recent recommendation (that was turned down).

Those who jump on the "rejection was based on race" bandwagon, need to find another hobby.

Regardless of his race, the nominee oversaw failed and failing schools and had a deep resentment for this state when he applied here.

Anonymous said...

"The only item you could use to reject Dr. Taylor was a paper from more than 20 years ago."

Really? The performance levels of the schools he's leaving behind don't count? Or, with you, does it only matter that 'he tried'?

Anonymous said...

Those who jump on the "rejection was based on race" bandwagon, need to find another hobby.

It is more profound than a bandwagon or hobby. They seethe with animus. They are consumed with hate.

Don Drane said...

Bladen County, North Carolina, has six out of 15 districts with a 'D' ranking and three with an 'F' ranking.

Atkinson, mentioned in this article, took over when Dr. Taylor recently took a job as Deputy at the state level (in North Carolina).

So, it would appear that the new guy solicited community input (raising hell) because he doesn't like the ranking system and he feels like they're trying real hard.

But, the point is Dr. Taylor seems to have left a wake of failure (lack of achievement and failure to meet expectations) behind him.

{It's noted that the failing and near failing schools are referred to only as 'low performing'}

Anonymous said...

'Typical of the good old boy system we’ve come to know and love in Mississippi. Back to business as usual.'

Pay attention here, Homer. This is the same Board that blessed us with the disaster of 'out of state' Dr. Wright for the past nine years, in case you've not paid attention.

Was that hire the 'good ole boy Mississippi system'?

Anonymous said...

“The performance levels of the schools he's leaving behind don't count?”

Are you able to provide actual data to support your claim or are you merely going off what you’ve heard?

The fact is that we live in a politically charged climate and if you don’t fit the mold, you’re frowned upon. Dr. Taylor was not given a chance to do what the state board selected him to do. The superintendent before him was frowned upon when she was initially hired; she had zero ties to Mississippi. However, she was given a chance.

Don Drane said...

@ 7:46 - I did what you are asking for in the post above yours.

You're right...It was wrong, but Wright was given a chance, 9 years of chances, in fact.

There was an active 'Fire Carey Wright' facebook page for seven of those years.

The goal here is not to 'give people a chance'. The goal is to properly vet candidates (not pay a third party to do that) and continue the search accordingly, if need be.

The notion of "Let's just get this thing done" is failing our children.

Anonymous said...

I don’t care how much “education” this Taylor guy has. Education does not translate into ability to lead. Virtually anyone can attain advanced degrees, I have. I know who Kent is, and he is a stand up, no B.S. guy. He doesn’t know me, so I don’t have a horse in this race, I just want what is best for our children and their education. I only drawback I see with Kent is that he is not black .

Anonymous said...

Met him over 32 years ago when my boy and I moved here after his mom's death. Best of luck Mr. Kent.

Anonymous said...

If not another commie hire him.

Anonymous said...

to 8;34..........''a freaking rockstar'?......................................for $300,000 per year he ought to be able to walk on water.

Anonymous said...

9:41 It's not the candidate's fault that the state offers up that much.

Anonymous said...

It appears that the dept of Ed does not do a great job of vetting candidates. The last one was a failure and this one had a record of failure. Skin color and education should not be the only pre-requisites. There is a fine local example of why there should be a record of actual leadership. Surely, we can do better.

Anonymous said...

This situation is about race only to those who enjoy the failed-art of race-baiting.

Whose fault is it that the man was either hired or put on contract back in January, long before the Senate took the step of advice and consent?

Most if not all of the Board should resign after their past two failed decisions.

As with most everything else, though, let's just blame it on Covid and move along.

Anonymous said...

A sizeable portion of that $300k compensation package should be incentive-based. If you don't show improved numbers (test scores, graduates, teacher ratings, budgeting, etc.), then you don't get the bonus incentive portion. Otherwise, it's advanced payment based on hope.

Anonymous said...

If you actually listen to the Education hearing over and over again the members said that Dr. Taylor was qualified and that it wasn't about him it was about the board and the process. (Which one thing most agree on is the board is a train wreck.) But the legislature has known the process and could have intervened, questioned, changed the process at any time. They chose not to do so. They also chose not to take up the nomination at the beginning of the session if there was an issue. They didn't do any of those things. This was a late in the session bomb and while it may not be about race for the majority even, it clearly was for some. If we are going to hold someone to something they said/did thirty years ago we need to be consistent. If wearing blackface and parading around at frat parties in Confederate uniforms doesn't matter, then saying the state was racist thirty years ago shouldn't be an issue. If we are only hiring from within then say it in the job description. 18 complete applications for a nationwide hire is pitiful. We are not the catch some of you think we are.

Anonymous said...

I will admit I initially didn't see the problem with Taylor. He seemed to fit the mold of a superintendent. Then after looking up his stats, it'd be a hard pass from me too. It looks like his home district of Clinton City schools ranks below 50% in everything (but diversity) in NC. It makes me wonder who actually vets these candidates. If this guy was the best that applied, we better start from scratch.

Anonymous said...

Madison public schools were the best in the state under Mike Kent. Slid slightly his assistant who followed him, have fallen greatly since then.
The people who dislike Mike Kent hate merit based education.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie McGeehee couldn't carry Mike Kent's jock strap.

Anonymous said...

"...members said that Dr. Taylor was qualified and that it wasn't about him it was about the board and the process."

Anybody care to interpret that?

"members said"? Which members and what context?

@12:24 - You listened to it 'over and over and over' - suppose you tell us.

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