Jackie Pollock will retire at the end of the year as superintendent of the Kemper County School District. She was elected three times and served 12 years in the position.
Jackie Pollock will retire at the end of the year as superintendent of the Kemper County School District. She was elected three times and served 12 years in the position.
By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

Longtime Kemper County educator and superintendent of schools Jackie Pollock will be retiring at the end of the year.
    Pollock will be Kemper County’s last superintendent of education to be elected. The Legislature changed the law a few years back, making it to where county school superintendents would be appointed by an elected school board. Pollock was first elected in 2007 and will have served from 2008 until December 31.

When the school board began its search for a new superintendent, Pollock announced she would be retiring. Hilute Hudson, a Louisville educator, has been named to succeed her.  

Born and raised in Kemper County, Pollock attended West Kemper High School, graduating in 1987. She went on to Mississippi State University. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She has Masters and Specialist degrees in Educational Leadership, all from Mississippi State.

She taught at West Kemper Elementary School, third and fourth grades, for six years. In 1997, I became the vocational director at the John C. Stennis Vocational Central. She stayed their 10 ½ years. In 2007, she ran for superintendent of education and the rest is history.

“It has been exciting,” Pollock said. “We have had some highs and lows. Through it all, it has been good. It has been good working with everybody, getting a chance to make an impact in the lives of students and of those you serve. I have enjoyed partnerships with the community.”

Pollock talked about the challenges she faces during her years in the superintendents’ office.

“One of the things I have seen is how the education mandates have changed with an increased focus on accountability,” Pollock said. “More and more is being required. It brings accountability not only to those in leadership but to everyone who is involved. That trickles down to the general public.

“Also, we have seen changes in funding. Of course, the Mississippi adequate education fund has not been fully funded in a long time. We have seen the ups and downs of budgets. When I came in, we had some deficit fund balances or were pretty close to it. That has changed.

“We have had those issues but over the years, I think we have done better at managing resources.”

Personnel and staff turnover has been a problem.

“I wish we could have had a more stable staff,” Pollock said. “Over the years, people have retired. We struggled with retaining and turnover in staff. If we can find that magic solution to staff and keep them here, we would have a stable staff each year. I feel good about the support and training we have provided but we have to continue work on retaining staff.”

The schools got a windfall from the construction of the Mississippi Power plant for a few years. Pollock said the extra money was used to purchase new school buses and to do some renovation projects.

“Our dream would be to have new facilities and I think that is something to work for,” Pollock said.

Emphasis has been placed on vocational programs like the welding program. Also, the district is developing partnerships with East Mississippi Community College.

As Pollock looked back at her years of service, she said now is a good time for her to step back.

“At times it seemed like things went by fast, and other times, it seemed like it slowed down some,” Pollock said. “Now, it seems like it went by pretty fast.

“It was non-stop, fast paced position, 24/7. You are always on call Sometimes it’s good to take a breather.”

Pollock has no plans at this time. She is looking forward to reading and working in her garden and taking it easy for a while.