Sometime next spring, Baldwyn High School Principal Jeff Palmer will be leaving a job he loves to take on greater responsibilities with the Prentiss County School District (PCSD).
On Monday, the PCSD Board selected Palmer as the district’s next superintendent. He will replace Randle Downs, whose contract with the PCSD ends on Dec. 31. However, Downs has said he will serve as long as needed to ensure a smooth transition. Palmer’s contract with the Baldwyn School District runs through July.
“We don’t know exactly,” Palmer said on when he expects to assume the new role. “I don’t expect it to be at the beginning of the year. It will probably be sometime around the middle of the second semester.”
Palmer, who is in his sixth year leading the high school, has served many roles through two stints with Baldwyn Schools, including being a teacher, coach and principal. He left the district for four years when he served as principal of Ripley High School. All told Palmer has been with Baldwyn Schools for 15 years.
“I appreciate the fact that Baldwyn has given me the opportunity to be here twice over the years,” Palmer said. “I wouldn’t be here today if Baldwyn hadn’t given me a high school education and allowed me to advance my career.”
Baldwyn Schools Superintendent Jason McKay had equally admirable words for Palmer.
“I appreciate the job Mr. Palmer’s done for our district and leading Baldwyn High School,” McKay said. “We wish him the very best.
McKay said it will be business as usual at the high school from now through the spring.
“He will remain with us most of the academic year,” McKay said. “We will proceed with the change in the latter part of the second semester. We’ll start taking applications at the appropriate time and go through the correct process for naming our next administrator. What we’re concentrating on right now is having the best, most productive school year we can for our students, and we have everything in place to do that.”
Palmer has overseen significant academic strides and advancements at Baldwyn High School, and he believes the school is on solid footing for the future.
“I’m proud of a lot of things we’ve accomplished, from being recognized as an SREB (Southern Regional Education Board) school – the only one in this state and one of only two schools in the region, to our graduation rates,” Palmer said. “I’m proud we were able to start a vocational program here. We have gone from sending kids to Prentiss County for vocational training to building our own.”
As the new school year moves along Palmer’s focus will still be on the current job at hand, even as he keeps an eye on the future.
“I appreciate Prentiss County giving me this opportunity,” Palmer said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge but not looking forward to leaving the people here. This is my home.”