STARKVILLE — Starkville High School executive principal Howard Savage is leaving the district to become assistant superintendent of secondary education at Pascagoula-Gautier School District.
Savage has led SHS for the past two school years. Though his job will be on the Gulf Coast, his family will remain in Starkville for the 2022-23 school year.
“I’m always going to love Starkville,” Savage said. “Starkville will always be home to me. My daughter is about to graduate from Mississippi State, my son is going to remain up here and finish his senior year at Starkville High School, and my eighth grader, she’s going to stay here for another year until I can make the full transition. My family is going to be up here, and you’ll still see me around at events when I come up to visit my family.”
The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District board of trustees voted to accept Savage’s resignation on Tuesday morning. He began his role in the early days of COVID-19, and Superintendent Eddie Peasant complimented Savage’s leadership at SHS through the height of the pandemic.
“We have been fortunate to have Dr. Savage lead SHS through one of the most challenging times for schools in history,” Peasant said. “His ability to build positive relationships and gain respect from students and teachers is unmatched.”
When Savage began, classes and meetings with parents were not face-to-face, but he rose to the challenge, Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas. He held Zoom meetings with parents and was instrumental in the leadership as SHS transitioned to a career academy model of learning through the academic houses.
“One of the things Savage did early in his tenure at Starkville High School was he began hosting regular Zoom calls with parents as a way to connect with them during the pandemic, which when at the time he was hired had very little face-to-face interaction,” Thomas said. “I remember that when he was initially hired he made an effort to really connect with parents, students and families despite the challenges the pandemic presented.”
Savage said while he is leaving the district for an assistant superintendent position, he is not closing the door on opportunities within SOCSD in the future.
“I never close the door on what can happen in the future,” Savage said. “I’m leaving on good terms, and you never know what is going to happen.”
The search for a new executive principal at SHS began immediately.