- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) - South Pike School District president Luke Lampton said his biggest goal is saving Eva Gordon Upper Elementary School.

The district board elected Lampton to his fourth term as president earlier this month, The Enterprise-Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1dtMJsq).

The school has received a failing rating from the Mississippi Department of Education for two consecutive years. A third year of failure would result in a state takeover.

Lampton says he has faith in new principal Angela Benefield, though he says she has a difficult task ahead.

“South Pike could lose local control of one of its schools,” said Lampton, who has been on the board since 2003.

“That’s a very serious thing, not only from the point of view of the school district losing a school, but the fact that we have a failing school that we can’t fix and we can’t improve after three years of work,” he said.

Beyond saving the upper elementary school, Lampton said the board should focus on improving academic quality of all South Pike schools.

“You have to have principals as change agents,” he said. “They have to go in there, change the teachers and get them focused. We’ve got to put our very best and most accomplished teachers (in charge) - not our nicest teachers, not our most popular teachers, Lampton said.

“We’ve got to get our most talented and gifted leaders as teachers and principals, and they’ve got to make these schools successful,” he said.

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Information from: Enterprise-Journal, https://www.enterprise-journal.com

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