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Superintendent Search

Columbus Municipal School District 

The Mississippi School Boards Association is currently conducting the Superintendent Search for the Columbus Municipal School District.

The Columbus Municipal School District is seeking an innovative and data-driven educational leader who has a proven record of raising student achievement, who has current, hands-on experience with the Mississippi accountability system, and who has demonstrated the ability to develop positive relationships with all stakeholder groups.

About the District


  • School District Rating: C
  • Total Number of Students: 3,092
  • Graduation Rate: 88.4%
  • Per Pupil Expenditure: $11,600
  • Number of Licensed Teachers: 232
  • Total Employees: 556
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: 13:1
  • Total Number of Elementary Schools: 5
  • Total Number of Middle Schools: 1
  • Total Number of High Schools: 1
  • Total Number of Career & Technical Centers: 1
  • Total Number of Alternative Schools: 1


The Columbus Municipal School District dates back to 1821, with the opening of the first public school in Mississippi, Franklin Academy. Franklin Academy, one of five magnet schools in the district, is still operational and a prominent feature near downtown Columbus. The district’s mission is to provide students in the city of Columbus with a rigorous educational experience and focuses on maintaining an environment that is student-centered and excellence driven. 

Five elementary magnet schools provide primary students, pre-K through fifth grade with opportunities to study performing and fine arts, aerospace and sciences, medical and wellness, technology and communication, and international studies. CMSD is the first district in Mississippi to offer school choice to parents of kindergarten through fifth-grade students. 

The state-of-the-art middle school offers a comprehensive curriculum with a variety of electives including Mississippi’s first “We Build it Better” program which gives students hands-on experience with the inner workings of airplanes and flight sciences. McKellar Technology Center partners with East Mississippi Community College to prepare high school students for careers in automotive, carpentry, digital media, early childhood education, engineering, culinary arts, and the medical field. 

After graduation, Columbus High School alumni excel in and out of the classroom. While still enrolled, CHS students have opportunities to participate in dual enrollment courses with local higher education institutions. Each year, CHS graduates students with numerous college credit hours, while some graduate with an associate’s degree. The CHS Athletic Department boasts recent state championships in men’s and women’s basketball. CMSD athletes continue to excel in individual sports including track and field, weightlifting, tennis, and more. These student athletes have exemplary records in the classroom with an average GPA of 3.3. 

Years before the state initiative, CMSD started incorporating a coding curriculum for students at each grade level. Columbus Municipal School District continues to offer coding and computer science to all students. The district has made extensive efforts to invest in technology with the incorporation of our one-to-one program. CMSD provides each student and classroom teacher with a Windows laptop to help bridge the technological gap. Because every student has access to a laptop for class assignments, after-school tutoring or at-home projects, students can perfect technological skills that will extend beyond high school graduation. 


Columbus, Mississippi, located in Lowndes County, has a storied history of public education. The city is home to Mississippi University for Women, the first state-funded university for women, and Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, a state-funded school for academically gifted high school students. Columbus also boasts the first free first public school in Mississippi, Franklin Academy, established in 1821.

While “The Friendly City” is popularly known for its rich history in education and the arts, recent years have seen a boom in industry. The city has experienced dynamic growth with major developments throughout the area, including an industrial region filled with economic drivers such as PACCAR, Columbus Air Force Base, Steel Dynamics, Aurora Flight Sciences, AirBus, International Paper, and more.  

For recreational ventures, Columbus offers a number throughout the city, including strolling the Riverwalk, kayaking the Tombigbee River, taking golf lessons at Lion Hills, or enjoying the rich culinary scene. The vibrant downtown life boasts annual events such has Market Street, Wassail Fest, Sounds of Summer, the Farmer’s Market and more. A city with a population just under 25,000 offers citizens a small-town experience with larger cities such as Tupelo, Tuscaloosa, and Meridian, all about 60 miles away. 

Applicant Criteria & Qualifications
The Superintendent of Education serves as the chief executive officer of the school district and is responsible to the Board of Trustees for ensuring compliance with all board policies and Mississippi State Board of Education rules and regulations, as well as state and federal laws.

Only applicants who fit the following criteria and qualifications defined by the board will be considered for the position.
  • Must meet criteria outlined in MS Code 37-9-13.
  • Evidence of a recent documented track record of raising the achievement level of all students
  • A minimum of three years of experience in an “A” or “B” school or district or experience in moving a school or district to an “A” or “B” rating
  • Is an advocate for students
  • Skill as an effective communicator, including speaking, listening, writing, and technology
  • Ability to develop a climate of trust/openness with all stakeholders
  • Willingness to maintain an open-door policy with all stakeholder groups to benefit students and the district
  • Ability to develop a formal process for communicating with stakeholders, including the board members
  • Willingness to and ability to work cooperatively with the school board members
  • Ability to develop a positive rapport, while providing strong leadership to administrators, teachers, and other school personnel
  • Uses a team management approach
  • Will reside in the school district with his/her family and is committed to becoming an active and visible member of the community
  • Ability to engage parents and community stakeholders in the life of the school
  • Knowledge of strategic planning, including development, implementation, monitoring, and reporting
  • Has a track record of strong decision-making; is firm, fair, and consistent
  • Ability to recruit, retain, and invest in the development of highly qualified personnel
  • Has experience in developing a climate of high expectations and accountability
  • Strong commitment to pursue academic innovations for all grade levels
  • Honest and transparent; high moral and ethical standards of conduct; a strong work ethic
Invitation to Apply
laptop computer apply mail


Applications must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on March 17, 2023.


The start date for the new superintendent will be determined by the board once the candidate is selected. The preferred start date is June 1, 2023.


Please be prepared to upload the following documents (PDF) into the application system:

  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume
  • Valid Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Administrator License
  • Current School District Employment Contract

To create your profile and begin the application process,

click the "Apply Now!" button.

This school district is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all state and federal laws.
Applicants are subject to financial and criminal background checks as required by Mississippi law.

To learn more about the MSBA Superintendent Search Service, click here.
Denotris R. Jackson, M.Ed., Executive Director
380 Zurich Drive │ Ridgeland, MS 39157 │ 601-924-2001 │
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