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Picayune School District extends superintendent’s contract through 2022

Picayune’s Dean Shaw has secured his position as Picayune School District’s Superintendent through 2022.

The move to extend Shaw’s contract, for three more years came at Tuesday’s board meeting, which was preceded by the swearing in of new board member Josh Roberson.

The three year contract extension was listed along with 21 year to year contract renewals for school district administrators under “Consider Personnel” on the meeting’s agenda. When the board reached that agenda item, Board President Frank Ford requested the item be struck from the agenda.

Board member Edward Stubbs questioned Ford’s reasoning to which he explained that Mr. Shaw was requesting another three years on his contract, despite having another year left of his current contract.

After the meeting, Ford explained that he had several reasons for requesting the removal of the contract extension from Tuesday’s agenda, one big concern being timing, giving that Shaw’s current contract would not end until June 2019 and the board is currently undergoing changes.

“I felt like the timing was way off on this,” Ford said during a phone interview. “We had a new board member and I thought that was way too soon to ask him to come up with a vote that important and we have a new member coming on the first of March, David Mooneyhand, and I thought he should be included because he will have to work with this superintendent, so I felt he deserved to have a say.”

Superintendent Shaw interrupted the discussion between Ford and Stubbs in the meeting by saying they could not discuss personnel without going into executive session. He then stated that a board member could not remove an item from the agenda and claimed that Ford was going against board policy, as he passed around a document from the state school board attorney that would allegedly back that statement up. Upon later inspection of the handout, the document stated that an item could be removed if a member made a motion that passed with a majority vote. This seeming contradiction lead to obvious confusion amongst board members. (See documents below.)

Board member Lori Blackmer made a motion to proceed by voting for the 21 other personnel contract renewals, but go into executive session to further discuss Shaw’s contract extension, which did not pass. The motion to accept the agenda as is, including accepting the superintendent’s contract extension without further discussion, was then made and passed three to one, with Stubbs, Jake Smith, and new member Josh Roberson in favor, Ford against, and Blackmer abstaining from the vote.

After the meeting, Blackmer explained that her reason for not voting was because her term will be up in March and a new member will take her place. Like Ford, Blackmer felt it would be unfair to the new members for her to vote tonight.

“I had hoped we would go into executive session so that we could discuss it further with Josh (Roberson) and hopefully table it for another six months or so,” Blackmer said. “He had only been sworn in about ten minutes prior. I thought it would be only wise to allow six months to go by to give Josh and my replacement (David Mooneyhand) some experience with the present administration and some experience on the board, so that they can make their own informed decision instead of being saddled with a decision that was made as I was leaving.”

Though Ford and Blackmer both were concerned about the fairness of having Roberson vote on such a paramount issue, he seemed confident in his decision.

“It was my first meeting but my opinion is when I think about Picayune I think about Coach Shaw,” Roberson said after the meeting. “When I saw it on the agenda I thought I was ready to make this decision tonight. I feel like he’s capable of the job. There are probably a few things the other board members know better than I do since they’ve been on the board longer, but I was born and raised in Picayune, been here all my life. I graduated from Picayune and when I walked in there tonight I already had my mind made up that I wanted to be part of the extension because I feel like he deserves it.”

Shaw has been the district's superintendent since 2007 and as of the 2015-2016 school year makes $102,648 a year. Previously, he served as director of the district’s Career and Technology Center and former highly successful Maroon Tide basketball coach.


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