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House named interim superintendent

Interim state superintendent looks for smooth transition to “common core” curriculum.
Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Education

 

The Mississippi Board of Education plans to name Lynn House as interim state superintendent, beginning July 1. House will replace former dean of the Ole Miss School of Education and current state superintendent Tom Burnham, who will retire from the position on June 30.

House, an Ole Miss alumnus, is currently the deputy superintendent for instructional enhancement and internal operations and has held that position since February 2010.

The Board has not set an official timeline for hiring Burnham’s permanent replacement but has said that House will not be a candidate. The Board did confirm that the search for a replacement will extend nation-wide.

Both the Oxford and Lafayette school districts will be affected by this change, like all school districts in the state of Mississippi, but the Board of Education is certain that things will run smoothly during the transition.

“It is very important to the state board that we continue the progress that has been made under Dr. Burnham’s leadership,” Charles McClelland, chairman of the Mississippi Board of Education, said in a press release. “The best choice for our public school students is someone with a lifetime of service to public education. Dr. House will keep us moving forward.” 

As interim superintendent, House will be faced with both continuing Burnham’s work, and dealing with some changes, such as Mississippi’s new curriculum standards known as “common core.” This new standard will nationally regulate the curricula that individual states teach so that all states’ curricula are similar.

“Moving to common core is really a significant step, and there’s a lot of training that will go with that,” said Nancy Loome, executive director of the Parents Campaign, a public school lobbying group. “It’s really a ramped-up curriculum and a different curriculum.”

Newly-elected Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and other state legislators have pushed to create alternative schools in Mississippi. Depending on the Board of Education’s timetable in appointing a permanent superintendent, House could have to deal with pressure to meet the demands of the state’s leaders.

Currently, as deputy superintendent, House is responsible for the direct supervision of seven offices within the Department of Education including curriculum and instruction, student assessment, business services, career and technical education, special education, federal programs and healthy schools/child nutrition. 

In addition to serving on the Board of Education, House has taught at Delta State University and served as dean of the school’s College of Education. She also taught at Barry University in Miami and has worked for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and the Louisiana Board of Regents. She has additional education experience as a teacher, principal and district administrator.

House will be paid 90 percent of Burnham’s salary of $307,000 a year, or $276,300. At her current position, she made an annual salary of $160,000.