ABERDEEN – A final piece of the puzzle of the Aberdeen School District’s July 1 return to local control was placed last week by the Aberdeen School Board’s unanimous decision to hire Oxford School District Assistant Superintendent Jeff Clay to fill the top administrative position as superintendent.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity and I really enjoyed my dialogue with Mr. [Mac] Curlee and the school board. I recognized their desire to be the best possible school district it can be. With my goal, nothing has changed since I was principal, but instead of being the best possible school we can be, I want this to be the best possible school district it can be,” Clay said.

Clay began his educational career as a special education teacher for the Coweta County School System in Newnan, Georgia. He followed by teaching and coaching in the Madison School District. After five years of serving in Madison, he started a 10-year tenure with the Oxford School District where he served as assistant principal, principal and director of secondary curriculum before becoming assistant superintendent.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Millsaps College, his master’s degree from Austin Peay State University and his specialist degree from Mississippi College. He is a 2015 graduate of the Mississippi School Boards Association Prospective Superintendent Leadership Academy, a professional development program designed to prepare candidates for the position of superintendent in Mississippi’s public schools.

“With his educational background and academic focus, the board is convinced that Mr. Clay is the right person for the job of superintendent at this point in Aberdeen’s history,” said ASD Conservator Mac Curlee.

“As incoming president of the school board and a participant throughout the entire interview process, I am confident Mr. Clay will be very visible in our schools and community. I have no doubt Mr. Clay will become immersed in the Aberdeen community in every way possible. Doing so will only enable Mr. Clay to better understand the needs not only of our students, but the entire community as well. I expect Mr. Clay to not only communicate a vision to move our school district forward, but to listen to all of the stakeholders, as well. On behalf of the board, we welcome Mr. Clay. I trust our schools and the community will do likewise,” said school board president Jim Edwards.

Aberdeen School Board members met in executive session May 1 with three members of the Mississippi School Boards Association, which assisted in the search, to review a list of 14 candidates for the job. Interviews with the top five candidates took place last week ahead of the decision to hire Clay.

The school district has been under state control since April 2012.

Clay will be in and out of the district before his official start date to meet as many people associated with the school as possible.

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