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Staff, officials celebrate Carl Merritt’s retirement

The Poplarville School District celebrated Superintendent Carl Merritt’s retirement Tuesday at the Poplarville High School cafeteria.

Merritt spent 42 years working in education, of which 11 of those years were as superintendent. He began his career in Forrest County as a general science and civics teacher, and also worked as an assistant baseball coach.

Teacher Scott Bond worked with Merritt at the beginning of their careers.

“He was obviously exceptional,” Bond said.

Merritt said he knew by the time he was a high school sophomore that he wanted to work in education as an administrator and coach. He still has weekly phone calls with his high school basketball coach, who had a significant impact on his life.

“Poplarville will always be the highlight of my professional career,” Merritt said.

Merritt’s wife Beverly Merritt is a teacher in the Poplarville School District, and said he was the first superintendent in her teaching career who regularly visited classrooms to check in on students.

“He has dedicated his entire life to taking care of kids and students,” Beverly said.

Merritt’s children attended Poplarville schools, and his son is pursuing a career in education administration.

“It’s bittersweet. He’s earned his retirement, but we’ll miss him greatly,” said Ryan Merritt.

“He put his whole heart and soul into it,” said Meggie Merritt.

Incoming Superintendent Konya Miller said she will miss Merritt’s wealth of experience.

“We’d sit down and meet and speak every morning, and go over everything for the week,” Miller said.

Parents, students, school employees and public officials attended the retirement party.

“He’s provided the leadership that’s created the environment to make Poplarville schools some of the best,” said District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday.

Merritt will continue to reside in Poplarville and begin working at Bayou Buggies in Poplarville soon.