OKOLONA – New Okolona Elementary School Principal Lealue “Sha” Triplett willingly walks the path toward making herself and her world better, even when it sometimes leads outside her comfort zone, she said this week.
She began work Monday, July 1. She replaced Willie Mounce, who is now Principal at the Houlka Attendance Center.
Mrs. Triplett, 40, has been married to Pastor Deon Triplett “going on 11 years. We have three wonderful boys: Kayden 8, and a set of twins Kayson and Karson who are 6. My husband is the proud pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Hamilton, Mississippi. He is also employed with Lifecore as a Community Support Specialist.
“I attend Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Hamilton, and I am a member of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church of Tupelo. My home church is Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of Houston,” she said this week.
She’s lived in, been educated in, and taught in this area all her life. You could say she’s “steeped in the standards” of northeast Mississippi.
She graduated from Houston High School, where she was an honor graduate and a member of Beta Club, Anchor Club, was in the band, and on the girls’ basketball team.
Lealue is the daughter of Richie and Annettee Cousin. Richie is the Public Works Superintendent for the city of Okolona. He is also the DJ for 106.1FM radio station. Annettee is an employee of NMMC as an MIS analyst,”
Her college career began at Itawamba Community College. She was a member of the Indian delegation, Band, Annual Staff, Government Association, and a basketball manager. She was also named Who’s Who for Junior Colleges, and was an honor graduate as well.
After receiving her associate’s degree she went on to the University of Mississippi, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She was a member of the band and became a member of the sorority Delta Sigma Theta.
After teaching for about 15 years she earned her specialist degree in educational leadership from Delta State University.
She now has an associate’s degree in elementary education, bachelor’s degree in elementary education, master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and a specialist degree in educational leadership.
In her leisure time, “I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, giving back and serving the community, and watching a great movie,” she said this week. Her favorite recent movie was “When They See Us.” She’s also the chapter president of Tupelo Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
“The first four years of my career, 2002 – 2006, I taught at Holly Springs Intermediate School 4th and 5th grade. I was in the Tupelo Public School District for 13 years (2006-2019). During those 13 years I taught 4th and 5th grade as well,” she said.
Her M.O. is to leave places better than she found them, investing some of herself wherever she happens to be.
“I have served as Lead Math PLC, member of a District Focus Group, member of a school leadership team, new teacher mentor, mentor/clinical instructor for University of Mississippi, co-director for Whole Schools Initiative Team, coordinator for after-school programs, and curriculum team member,” she recalled.
She started the following clubs: S.W.A.G. (Successful Worthy Achieving Gentlemen) mentoring program for young men; F.I.R.E. (Fiercely Inspired 2b Respectful & Enthusiastic) mentoring program for young ladies; P.O.W.E.R. (Purpose Options Wisdom Education Respect) mentoring program for young ladies and young men), and math club (a tutoring program).
“During my career at Tupelo Public Schools I was able to attain my National Board Teacher Certification and I recently renewed my national boards. I was also one of the members of the first Leadership Academy Program that Tupelo Public School District established,” she said.
Sha came to the Okolona Municipal Separate School District for several reasons.
“I saw the drive that this district and community has for education. The district has had its ups and downs but they have persevered through it all. I wanted to be a part of a team that has compassion and determination.
“I was also eager to come to Okolona when they named their new superintendent, Chad Spence. He is a person who wants what is best for every child. He is a person who does not mind doing the work. I wanted to learn and work for a great leader, as he has shown himself to be.”
She has an ambitious plan to help the school and community.
“My first goal is to make the school more inviting, in order to give the students a sense of pride about attending OES. I would also like to make sure that my teachers have all the resources and professional development they need in order to be the best teachers they can be so that our students are successful.
“I plan to implement programs that will allow more parental and community involvement. I also would like to have sessions for parents to come and learn how to help their children with their education at home.
“I want to get to know community leaders and business owners so that together we can make our educational program here at Okolona Municipal Separate School District an ‘A’ district, because our students and teachers have the knowledge, determination, and compassion to be an A-rated district,” she said.
The most important thing she wants to get done during her first year or so is to make the district better by the school and stakeholders working together.
“My main goal this year is for OES is to be better. As a team we will strive to be better each day. If we accomplish being better then the sky is the limit for how far we can go.
“However, we must realize that we are better together. Building positive relationships with all stakeholders will be the key to being better,” she said.
The biggest hurdle she’s had to overcome to get where she is today was to move out of her comfort zone, and confront her fears.
“I feared moving from my comfort zone, I feared trying to balance being a wife, mother, and an administrator, I feared making mistakes.
“However, those fears made me OK with being uncomfortable, mindful of my support system, and realizing that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow.
“I have jumped those hurdles and landed exactly where God wanted me to be,” she concluded.