Okolona School District making strides with new leader, new vision

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OKOLONA, Miss. (WCBI) – Administrators, teachers and students in one Northeast Mississippi school district have high hopes with the start of a new school year.

New faces in top positions are implementing changes many believe will have a positive impact on the district and the entire community.

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As the new principal at Okolona Middle School, Mark Fields has set high goals for himself and the school staff.

“We’ve been working hard, teachers have been putting in a lot of time,” said Fields.

Fields, who also serves as the district’s athletic director, was hired this summer by Chad Spence, who is the new superintendent for Okolona schools. Spence has regularly shared his vision for the district with teachers, staff and the community.

That vision included better test scores, improving safety measures on campuses and getting more parents involved.

John Tacker is in his second year as Okolona’s high school principal.

He said goals and vision from the new leadership has been noticed by students.

“It’s a trickle down effect, he’s pushing us as administrators for making the best of ourselves and in turn, we’re pushing our students to be the best they can be, we’re trying to produce graduates and one day productive citizens,” said Tacker.

Another positive change at Okolona schools included rewarding students for good behavior and improved academic performance.

“We got to make sure we’re doing the things we need to and we’re rewarding the kids, that’s one thing I’m excited about with Mr. Spence, he’s all about that, he wants to see that reward system in place, because, everybody gets rewarded, if you go to a job and work 40 hours a week you get a paycheck,” said Fields.

Other improvements included more technology in the classrooms, along with additional sports for students, such as volleyball and archery.

Superintendent Spence said another goal for the district is to be a “B” or “A” rated school within a year or two.

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