HOULKA – The Chickasaw County School District School Board recently approved Willie Mounce – who has a broad background in education in this area – as the new principal for Houlka Attendance Center.
He replaces Anthony Golding, who is going to Milam Elementary School in Tupelo as an assistant principal. He had been with HAC two years.
Mounce was an elementary principal from 2018-19 and instructional coach from 2017-18 at Okolona, but was released from his contract there. He began work at Houlka July 1.
“We were fortunate to be able to find Mr. Mounce, who has a year’s experience as principal at Okolona, and has also been an academic coach there.
“We wish Mr. Golding well as he continues his career and welcome Mr. Mounce on board at Houlka,” said Chickasaw Superintendent Dr. Betsy Collums.
His salary will be $65,000 annually.
Although he officially started work July 1, he’d been meeting with Golding to make the changeover since the week of June 10, he said this week.
The new principal will be 43 in August. For now, he’ll be commuting from Ecru, where he and his wife Yolanda have a house. They have children 18, 17, 15, and 8. The oldest starts Mississippi State this fall; the others will continue to attend North Pontotoc. Yolanda Mounce works in healthcare at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. The family attends Ecru 2nd Baptist Church.
He’s well-known in the area. His mother is Shirley Mounce, his dad Marcus is deceased. His uncle, known throughout the town as Barber Bill, cut hair in Ecru for many years. Another uncle, Noah, was a long-time merchant who ran a cotton store in Ecru.
The Ecru native graduated from North Pontotoc in 1994. He worked for Wal-Mart Distribution Center in New Albany for about 10 years.
“I have a brother, Tim, in education. He kept telling me to go back to school, and I finally did,” Mounce recalled.
He earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Ole Miss in May, 2008. He earned his master of education degree from Delta State in June 2017, majoring in K-12 administration and supervision, and graduating summa cum laude.
Before working in Okolona, he was an elementary teacher at Lawndale Elementary in Tupelo from August 2009- June 2017.
Prior to that, he was an elementary teacher at Holly Springs Intermediate School, in Holly Springs, from August 2008- May 2009.
His hobbies include gardening, fishing, and generally being outdoors, he said.
He was never in the military, and doesn’t belong to any social clubs.
He sought the principal’s job at Houlka because it’s a “great opportunity for growth and experience in all facets of K-12 administration,” he said this week.
His philosophy of education is simple, he said.
“I believe that all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, or any other differences that they may have, should be awarded the same quality and consistent education.
“Our goal as educators is to make sure the school is a welcoming environment for everyone to succeed.”
He said the most important things he wants to have accomplished by the end of his first year at Houlka “is to raise the academic achievement for all students, and close some of the academic achievement gaps that exist between different subgroups of students.”
He concluded: “I am excited to be given the opportunity to serve the students, parents, community, and school board of Chickasaw County.
“I have already received a very warm welcome from many of the staff, the school board, and members of the community. Go Wildcats!”