TUPELO • The City Council has approved two recent appointments by Mayor Jason Shelton to the Tupelo Public School District Board of Trustees, returning Eddie Prather to his post for a third term and placing Paul Mize III on the board.
Mize, a banker, will replace Rob Hudson, who is resigning mid-term. The appointment of Mize marks only the second time Shelton has put a new face on the school board, following the first appointment of Sherry Davis in 2013.
With all other appointments during his tenure, Shelton has chosen to return incumbent board members for new terms.
The five members of the TPSD governing board serve staggered five-year terms, with Tupelo’s mayor offering an appointment to each seat, subject to ratification by the City Council.
Prather’s return to the school board was approved in early March by the Tupelo City Council on a 6-1 vote.
Ward 2 Councilman Lynn Bryan cast the only dissenting vote. In his remarks, Bryan said he considers Prather a “great guy” but preferred to see someone with children in the district appointed.
However, Shelton said Prather’s presence on the school board would provide continuity and stability amid recent leadership changes in the district, including Hudson’s early departure and a new superintendent as of this school year, Rob Picou.
However, Prather has indicated he would be willing to vacate his post before a new five-year term ends.
“Dr. Picou will have another year or two under his belt and then if he wanted to see someone younger, I’d be willing to step down,” Prather told the Daily Journal.
Prather’s long career as an educator included service as superintendent of the Okolona School District and as principal of Pearl High School.
Mize’s appointment to the board, however, won unanimous support, with members praising him as a qualified, fresh face.
“I think we need a younger person serving on the school board,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis.
Mize is a first vice president over commercial lending at BankPlus Bank, and was previously a vice president and commercial loan officer at BancorpSouth Bank. He is a 2006 graduate of the University of Mississippi.