New CFO assumes job with HPSD

By DAVID TISDALE,

A veteran education finance administrator with more than 20 years of experience officially stepped into her new role as chief financial officer for the Hattiesburg Public School District, as announced by HPSD Board of Trustees President Delores McNair during the district’s Dec. 10 regular meeting.

Jennifer Clanton, who began working for the district Oct. 1, was formally introduced as filling the role of HPSD CFO, with the retirement of Bonnie Granger. Clanton has been working with Granger in transitioning into the position during the last two months.

A native of Canton and a graduate of Jackson State University, Clanton previously served as business manager for the Canton School District.

“I’m really embracing this new opportunity,” Clanton said. “I’ve heard so many good things about Hattiesburg and the quality of life here, the great things happening in the community and the school district, so I’m really excited about being here. I felt like it was a great place to spend the remainder of my career.”

Granger had come out of retirement to serve as HPSD CFO approximately two years ago, after working as an administrator with school districts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The board of trustees and HPSD Superintendent Robert Williams expressed gratitude for Granger’s service during the meeting.

“We appreciate the work of Ms. Granger, especially after coming into the position during the middle of a school year,” Williams said.  

Granger expressed appreciation for the opportunity to work with the district as it recovered from a budget crisis more than three years ago, and in its campaign to secure renewed funding the referendum voters approved for the renewal of an ad valorem taxed funding HPSD schools.

“I see good things in the future for the Hattiesburg School District,” Granger said.

*McNair said that she and board members Yolanda Morris and Carey Varnado visited campuses throughout the district Dec. 5 to assess work being done that is being funded by the property tax renewal that totals more than $20 million.

Among the projects taking place at each school, and most visible to the public, is the demolition of the front central portion of Hattiesburg High School on Hutchinson Avenue, where art classrooms and the main offices were located. Construction of new classrooms, a courtyard and offices will be part of a reconfiguration of this area that will also accommodate a new main entrance to the school.

Another project nearing completion is renovation to the historic Rowan Elementary School gymnasium, at what formerly was L.J. Rowan High School, the city’s historic black high school.

The board receives a monthly progress report on the work being done, she said.

“It’s one thing to read the report, but it’s another thing to put eyes on the actual work and renovation that we’re doing, and I’m pleased with what I saw,” McNair said.