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Six search firms submit bids to help replace CMSD supt.


Philip Hickman

Philip Hickman



Isabelle Altman



The Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees plans to choose a search firm for the hiring of a new superintendent on Jan. 17. 


Though the discussion of the search firms was on the agenda for Monday's meeting at Brandon Central Services, the board voted to recess the meeting and hold the discussion at a later date following a nearly two-hour executive session. Board president Jason Spears said he wanted more time to look over firms and for the board to discuss proposals from them. 


Six search firms have submitted proposals to find a replacement for Superintendent Philip Hickman, whose contract ends June 30. The board has formally voted not to extend his contract, and Hickman will receive notice from the board attorney in the coming weeks. 


Spears said one of the six firms is Ray and Associates, which the school board used to find and hire Hickman three years ago. 


While Spears initially moved the meeting be recessed and the discussion be held Wednesday, board member Angela Verdell said she would be out of town that day and moved to choose the Mississippi School Board Association's proposal. 


Verdell said she recommended MSBA because it is responsible for training school board members, including CMSD's board, throughout the state. 


"We can't take training from any other organization other than the School Board Association," Verdell said. "I think they've had good success replacing superintendents within the state of Mississippi, they have a program where they groom and grow candidates within the state. That is the basis of my recommendation." 


Her motion died for lack of a second. Spears said he does not have any issues with MSBA but wants more time to discuss the options among the board members at a date that worked for every member. 


Hickman did not attend Monday's meeting -- the third in a row he has skipped since the board opted not to renew his contract on Nov. 13. Spears said afterward Hickman had a family obligation. 


Board member Currie Fisher, who openly supported renewing Hickman's contract, also was absent Monday. She has missed two of the board's last three meetings.




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