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Mississippi school board may decide on Newton deputy superintendent this month

Dr. Dennis Carpenter

Dr. Dennis Carpenter

COVINGTON -- A Mississippi public school system's board may decide later this month if the Newton County School System's deputy superintendent will be its next superintendent.

The Jackson Public Schools' Board of Trustees interviewed Dr. Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent for Operations at NCSS, for about an hour Wednesday afternoon, before also interviewing the other finalist, Dr. Cedrick Gray, superintendent of schools for the Fayette County, Tenn., school system.

Later in the day, they each individually met with a superintendent search community advisory committee, participated in a 15-minute press conference and talked and answered questions at a public forum for about an hour each, according to Peggy Hampton, director of Media Relations at JPS.

After the board met from about 9 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, they took no action, Hampton said.

The board members made tentative plans to make site visits to the school districts of the two candidates but did not set a time to do so. They also made tentative plans to meet on April 24 to make a decision, Hampton said.

The two finalists were chosen from a pool of 71 applicants using a national search firm, Ray and Associates.

JPS has 30,000 students, compared to about 19,000 in NCSS. It's made up of eight high schools, 12 middle schools, 39 elementary schools and two special schools.

Carpenter was hired as associate superintendent for Human Resources at NCSS in February 2008 after working as assistant superintendent for Support Services for Appling County Schools and a fourth-grade teacher, assistant principal and principal before that. He was named deputy superintendent for Operations in July 2009, when Deborah Robertson retired as associate superintendent of business and administration; he oversees the directors of Operational Services, Human Resources and Support Services, as well as the business manager, maintenance coordinator and School Nutrition Program coordinator.

Carpenter is the husband of Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, the principal at Alcovy High School.

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