After serving the Lamar County School District for 28 years – and six as its superintendent – Tess Smith has officially resigned from her position.
“I’ve always prayed for guidance regarding the time for me to leave the LCSD,” Smith said. “I’ve loved and supported this district for over 40 years if you include my time as a student. After serving it for over 28 years, over 6 as superintendent, it’s time to allow someone else to lead.
“Leaders need to be fresh and effective. I fear my expiration date on both have passed. No one person is at fault other than myself. I’ve let this job overtake my life and affect my health. It’s time that I step back and refocus on faith and family.”
The school district’s board of trustees issued a statement on Aug. 26 saying that Steven Hampton, who has been an educator for more than 22 years, will take over for Smith.
“The board would like to thank Mrs. Smith for her dedication and leadership and regrets that she feels it is the time to step down from her role as superintendent,” the statement said. “We will miss her many years of dedication to the district as a student, teacher, counselor, school administrator and superintendent.
“She has done a tremendous job in all these roles. Mrs. Smith has served as superintendent for over six years and during her tenure the Lamar County School District has grown to over 10,000 students and the district has consistently achieved an A rating from the Mississippi Department of Education. The board wants to thank superintendent Smith for her tireless service to this district and for her success in leading the Lamar County School District to be one of the top 10 school districts in the state.”
Smith said he has no regrets over the decision to resign.
“So many of you have been so supportive, especially in recent months,” she said. “This district will always have my prayers and support.
“Education and those who play any role in it should be revered. My retirement will be delayed until the end of October so that I can assist during the transition.”
Hampton has served as a classroom teacher, career and technical center director, assistant principal, high school principal and central office administrator. He earned a PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Prior to his appointment as superintendent, Hampton was serving as assistant superintendent at the district.
“We welcome superintendent Hampton to this new appointment and look forward to continued success in all facets of our district,” the statement said.
Hampton will earn $160,000 per year, and his contract runs through June 30, 2023.