Tour of Excellence: State superintendent of education to visit Petal, Oak Grove


As two of only 18 school districts in the state to receive an “A” designation on last school year’s Mississippi Accountability Model, the Petal and Lamar County school districts are preparing for a visit from State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright in honor of that achievement.

Wright will visit the area on Dec. 10, with her first stop scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Petal Elementary School, followed by a visit to Oak Grove High School at 11 a.m.

“I think it’s great any time that we get state recognition for our efforts,” said Matt Dillon, Superintendent of the Petal School District, which earned the highest proficiency levels in the state overall in Math and Language Arts. “It’s a good reflection on our district, and specifically and more importantly, on the faculty, staff and students that we have in our district.

“We’ve spent time in our district celebrating the results from last school year, and now to have the formal recognition at the state level is special for our faculty, staff and the community as a whole. So we’re excited about (Wright) coming down to our district to share in this program together.”

Wright’s visit to Petal Elementary School, which will be attended by select students, faculty and staff, will be streamed live at and on the Petal School District Facebook page.

During Wright’s visit to Oak Grove High School, the staff will hold a program with a brief recognition of each school that received an “A” rating on the Mississippi Accountability Model. A student from each campus will make a short statement about his or her school, and school officials will reveal their new banner for this year before a speech by Wright.

The district is busing groups of students from other middle and high schools for the event. The Oak Grove visit also will be streamed live.

“I greatly appreciate that Dr. Wright has made it a priority to visit “A” districts in the state of Mississippi,” said Tess Smith, superintendent of the Lamar County School District. “Everyone in LCSD works very hard for our students, but we must take time to acknowledge and enjoy our successes. We have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for in this great district.”

Wright became the State Superintendent for Education in 2013 and implemented Mississippi’s first publicly funded Early Learning Collaborative Program. She earned her bachelor, master and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.