- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - Milton Kuykendall has retired as superintendent of the DeSoto County School System.

With DeSoto County being one of about 60 out of 148 Mississippi school districts with elected superintendents, the 68-year-old Kuykendall fulfilled his desire to run for office by leading the state’s largest school system for 12 years.

Kuykendall handed over control of the district’s 42 schools and 33,000-plus students Sunday to Cory Uselton, principal of Southaven’s DeSoto Central High.

The Commercial Appeal reports (https://bit.ly/1O5Qv98) Uselton defeated three other longtime administrators in the district and runoff elections earlier this year to win the office.

Uselton will take over a district that has grown dramatically during Kuykendall’s tenure, a 12-year period in which the district added 17 schools countywide and renovated older campuses to accommodate growth spurred largely by migration from Memphis and Shelby County.

Managing that growth has been one of Kuykendall’s biggest challenges, he said.

Kuykendall cites as one of his biggest accomplishments the improved classroom statistics he can readily list: A jump in ACT scores of 476 percent since he took office, a 633 percent increase in the number of national merit semifinalists, an improvement about 20 percent in the graduation rate.

“If you asked me to pinpoint one thing, it’s those kinds of things I’m proudest of,” he said.

___

Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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