pull quote possibility: The overarching consideration is a strongly qualified, willing and enthusiastic trustee, and that certainly describes Tucker.

Lee Tucker

Excellent school board nominee

wins City Council confirmation

Lee Tucker's unanimous confirmation Tuesday night to a term on the Tupelo Public Schools' board of trustees adds another in a long line of informed, passionate and dedicated people to the most important appointive, official body in the city.

Tucker, an industry manager, graduate of Tupelo High School, the father of two Tupelo Public Schools students, and the son of former teachers in the city system, succeeds Floristene Gladney, who offered commendable service and whose term expired.

Tucker's confirmation was postponed when Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis complained because she said she had not been consulted and because the recommendation had not been made by the black community.

With Gladney the only African-American on the five-member board, Mayor Ed Neelly was rightly expected to fill her seat with a minority nominee. But we disagree with Davis' premise that the choice had to come from a pre-approved list. People of all races, ethnicities and affiliations can ascertain character and qualifications, and offer suggestions to city leaders, including Neelly, whose job includes nominating members of city boards and agencies.

In hindsight, an earlier notice to members of the City Council could have been helpful. By the same token, all members of the council could have put forward names to the mayor for his consideration. In the end, it's the mayor's call.

The overarching consideration is a strongly qualified, willing and enthusiastic trustee, and that certainly describes Tucker.

For the future, it also is arguable that the African-American community has plenty of qualified leaders from which to nominate other members of the school board.

In ideal terms it's not about proportionality, but in plain numbers, nearly half of the public school enrollment is black.

The board of trustees sits at the top of the support pyramid, and how its membership can mobilize, lead and inspire more parents and supporters for the boys and girls of Tupelo is important in the strategy for keeping the issues focused on education - not on the internal politics of one group or another.

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