With the school year underway, South Pike school board members moved to introduce a bit of local renown into its rank of educators at a well-attended meeting Thursday.

“We’re looking forward to a great year. The football team is on a tear,” Board President Sam Hall said. “And thank everyone for the support.”

The board hired McComb Mayor Quordiniah Lockley as a substitute teacher for the 2019-20 school year Thursday morning. Lockley will be listed as a general substitute for the district, which will be able to call on him to teach classes throughout the school year in times of need.

Across Mississippi and the country, school districts are contending with an ongoing shortage of teachers at all levels of education. Lockley offering his services to school districts shows that some elected officials are willing to put it out on the line to support local schools.

This isn’t Lockley’s first teaching job. He has taught social sciences at Denman Junior High School and was a world history teacher at South Pike High School before he was elected mayor last year. He also held an instructor position at Tougaloo College in the early 1990s.

“Having left South Pike to become mayor of McComb, I still feel that connection,” Lockley said. “I still want to provide whatever I can to assist them in helping students to achieve their best.”

Board members were excited to welcome Lockley aboard, with Eva L. Andrews noting that he is an experienced and respected educator.

“He’s really an excellent teacher,” she said.

His passion and dedication to education is lifelong, and serving as a substitute teacher is one way he can remain active within that field, Lockley said.

“I want to stay connected to the field of education,” Lockley said. “As a substitute, that keeps me in the know.”

Lockley said he will also be applying for substitute teaching positions in the McComb and North Pike school districts.

“Teachers are the ones who grow every other profession,” Lockley added in support of teachers.

In other business, the board:

• Agreed to advertise for timber sale and planting on 16th Section land holdings.

• Approved a scholastic book fair fundraiser requested by Eva Gordon Lower Elementary School Principal Kim Daniels to be held Sept. 9-13.

• Tabled a list of requested fundraisers pending further inquiry.

• Accepted donations from Harrell Family Eye Clinic, the Mississippi Cancer Institute, Cable One and What A Combo for $450, $400, $400 and $400 respectively.

• Renewed an annual agreement with Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex.

• Renewed an annual agreement with Pearl River Valley Opportunity Inc. for PRVO to provide services to preschool students who are eligible for special education or related services.

• Renewed an annual agreement with Southwest Mississippi Community College that allows college students to perform observation, clinicals or preceptorship within the South Pike School District.

• Approved an incoming student transfer from McComb due to parental employment and an outgoing student transfer to the McComb school district citing parental employment, and denied an outgoing transfer to McComb for special circumstances.

• Approved a chart marking the district’s organizational structure, noting the addition of Superintendent Dr. Donna Scott.

• Accepted the resignations of Eva Gordon Upper Elementary teacher Katrina Arterberry and maintenance employee Jose Verdia.

• Hired Eva Gordon Upper Elementary teacher Patricia Hall; substitute janitor Undra White and substitute bus driver LeTunja Hill; Osyka Elementary yearbook sponsor Cathy Wuerzer; certified substitute teacher Joe Williams; assistant high school football coach DeMario Richard; and substitute teachers Carkaydra Jackson, Sara Lewis, LaKeisha Spears and Robert Williams.

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