School board names Dean Shaw as superintendent

Published 8:03 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Dean Shaw was named the new superintendent of the Picayune Municipal Separate School District by the district’s school board in a called meeting Monday morning.

Shaw, currently director of the district’s Career and Technology Center and former highly successful Maroon Tide basketball coach, succeeds Dr. Penny Wallin who resigned at the end of last year after four years on the job. Shaw was hired after Del Phillips, a Mississippi native and associate/zone superintendent in the Springfield (Mo.) Public School District, turned down the Picayune district’s offer in an E-mail to board members over the weekend. Shaw was one of four candidates seriously considered by the board for the job after two other candidates withdrew their applications.

Shaw, who has spent 23 years in the Picayune school district as teacher, coach and administrator, leaving only in 1995 when he was head girls’ basketball coach for the Harrison Central before returning to Picayune the next year, said he is looking forward to the challenges his new position brings him. He officially takes office as superintendent on July 1, but between now and then will divide his time between the Career and Technology Center and the district’s central office, where he said he will be learning some of the needs district wide, learn about his new position and help interim superintendent Brent Harrell in running the district until he officially takes office.

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“I want to be as much help as I can to Mr. Harrell and Mr. (Bill) Spiers,” Shaw said. Spiers is an assistant superintendent in the school district. “… I’m looking forward to working with all of our people and with our community.

“This is going to be a learning process. Let’s get out and see what some of the other school districts are doing and if something will help us, let’s implement it in our school district,” Shaw said.

“We have a very good school district here and we need to continue whatever we can do to improve on the good things,” he said.

“We need to work as a team,” the former coach said, “we need to work together.”

Shaw said the district’s current and former administrations want the district to meet level 5 accreditation on all its campuses and that is his goal as well.

“I know Brent — Mr. Harrell — that’s important to him and it’s important to me as well. … We need to improve in those areas we need to improve in to meet that goal,” he said.

The incoming superintendent also said he wants the community to be more involved with the school, because “we have some great resources in our community.”

Though heavily involved in athletics for so many years as a coach, Shaw said he wants to improve all the district’s programs, including the arts programs that received so much attention under his predecessor.

“Athletics are important, but more important than that is that all our students are important. … We need to help all of our students achieve success, regardless of what they do. … We need to try to reach all of our students,” he said.

“I love this district. I have been here for 23 years. My children attend school here and all of these children are important to me, from pre-school to high school,” Shaw said.

Shaw will draw a base salary of $86,000 as superintendent. Wallin was making nearly $95,000 a year when she resigned. Phillips was aksing $135,000.

Shaw grew up in Necaise Crossing and graduated from Hancock North Central High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College, which he attended on a basketball scholarship, and earned two master’s degrees, including one is school administration, from William Carey College. During his tenure in Picayune, he as been a math teacher, compiled a 552-169 won-loss record as basketball coach over 22 years, including the year at Harrison Central; was head Tide golf coach for 10 years, was assistant principal at the Picayune Junior High School and is in third year as director of the Career Technology Center.

He and his wife have two children.

Shaw said he knows that people in the community will want to talk to him about their concerns with the school district and that until he officially becomes superintendent, he can be reach at the Career and Technology Center at 601-798-7601.