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Smith announces candidacy for mayor of Poplarville

Special to the Item

I am Louise Smith and I am excited and proud to announce my candidacy for the office of mayor in the Poplarville municipal election on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Most of you know me as the wife of Arnold B. Smith.  Arnold owned and operated a successful timber company outside Poplarville city limits for many years.  Arnold, the love of my life, passed away of Alzeheimer’s disease and COPD in 2018.

We were married for 51 years. We raised three beautiful children, Tracey, Bart and Sam.  Our children graduated from Poplarville High School, Pearl River Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi.  We are blessed with six precious grandchildren.

I graduated from USM with a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Education degree, and a specialist degree in Education Administration.

After graduating from USM, I held the following positions in the Poplarville School District: teacher of gifted, junior/senior high principal, alternative school principal, athletic director, and district support staff specialist. 

The support staff specialist position included being program coordinator of Federal Programs, Safe and Drug Free Schools, Eisenhower Math and Science, strategic planning, technology, loss control and 16th section land management.  I was also a grant writer and administrator.  I also served as superintendent of Bogalusa city schools.

As an educator of 30 years and resident of Poplarville for 44 years, I consider myself very fortunate to live and work in our amazing town. 

I am running for mayor because I have a clear vision of working together to ensure continuous growth and improvement to make our town a better place to live, learn, work and play. 

As President Teddy Roosevelt wrote: “start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.” 

Our remarkable community is filled with resilient, talented and hard working people who share a strong sense of place and a “can do” attitude.  Together we have what it takes to move our town forward.

My platform is based on three fundamental goals: 

1. Improve economic development and create more jobs;

2. Improve our infrastructure; and         

3. Improve civic and community engagement. 

COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on our economy.  Recovery is on us. We must leverage our resources as never before.  We have to  develop partnerships, and engage  the collective wisdom and talents of our people to participate in collaborative, transparent dialogue.  We cannot leave any talents on the sidelines.

As an experienced grant writer and administrator, I have strengthened economic development and created jobs in our schools and communities.  Let me share a few of the results of grants I have written: 

1. School Resource Officers were place in our schools through a Cops in Schools grant.  Resource officers are still in our schools. 2.  Nurses were placed in our schools through numerous grants.  We still have nurses in our schools.   3. After Katrina, over 44  teacher assistants and other support people were employed in our schools and community to help with recovery efforts through the National Emergency Grant. 4. Grant funds, community partners, and volunteer efforts built tennis courts on the high school campus. 5. A nature trail on the Upper Elementary School campus was built through grants, community partnerships, and volunteers. 6. Technology infrastructure in our schools was built  and technology was placed in all four schools through grants  7. Many grants were written to improve the skills of our educators through professional development and university courses. 

These grants often included teachers in all three school districts in Pearl River County.  Along with other educators, I traveled throughout our state and nation to deliver and receive professional development to improve ourselves and our schools.

I wrote the Blue Ribbon School Application that brought national attention to Poplarville High School as one of the outstanding schools in the United States.

I have the knowledge, the experience and “can do” attitude that will make me a great mayor for the City of Poplarville.  

On Tuesday, April 6 go to the polls and vote for Louise Smith.