As he began his new term on the Meridian School Board, Fred Wile praised the current superintendent, Sylvia Autry, for her work so far.
"She has done an excellent job of that. She has also, somewhat surprisingly, been a very quiet, tough and effective leader," Wile told the Meridian City Council Tuesday.
Wile announced his goals for the school system.
"The primary goal is the improvement of student performance in our district. And the primary focus is the improvement of leadership at the principal level. She has been quietly, but strongly working on that at all schools," said the board president.
The board has asked Autry to delay her retirement and stay through the end of this school year while it makes plans to seek the next permanent superintendent.
"We fully expect to resume the search for the long-term professional for this district in the fall of next year so that we'll be ready to go July 1 of 2005," Wile said.
Wile said he believes the school system is on the way to being improved.
"The thing that I think is going to help us all is the turnaround issues that are being addressed right now are going to put our district in a much stronger position a year from now, a stronger position to attract an outstanding leader, long-term leader for this district," said Wile.
Wile said a visible step forward was the return of R.D. Harris as principal of Meridian High School, which he called a welcome addition.