- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) - One of Mississippi’s most troubled school districts has hired a new superintendent who school board members hope can lead a turnaround.

Greenville’s school board on Tuesday signed a three-year contract with Biloxi administrator Janice Johnson to lead the 5,000-student district.

Board President Jan Vaughn tells the Delta Democrat-Times that she believes Johnson can improve the academic performance of the F-rated district, which was the 12th-lowest performing of Mississippi’s 143 districts in 2016.

“Right now, failing is not an option for me; we really want to move forward,” Vaughn said. “I’m not going to settle for less and she isn’t either.”

The school board fired Superintendent Leeson Taylor last year after a video emerged of a teacher dragging a special education student by the hair across the gym floor of Greenville High School.

Vaughn said the district got 16 applications for the leadership post, and sought an outsider who had worked in a high-rated district. Biloxi was the highest-ranked B-rated district in 2016.

“Through our combined efforts, the Greenville Public School District can and will become a leader among Mississippi schools,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson last summer was named superintendent in Hattiesburg, but changed her mind after one day, and resumed her assistant superintendent post in Biloxi.

Greenville will pay Johnson $160,000 annually. She starts work Monday.

Interim superintendent Janice Monroe will return to her position as director of special services.

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Information from: Delta Democrat-Times, https://www.ddtonline.com

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