Carla J. Evers made it official. She headed to the Pass Christian School District central office Thursday morning and signed a contract with the district to become its next superintendent.
The school board selected Evers as its choice out of a pool of 24 applicants. Among the candidates were four superintendents, five assistant superintendents, a retired superintendent and seven school principals. Evers' contract is for one-year with the option to extend to three years after the first.
Board of Trustees president Margaret Jean Kalif said the Board was thorough in its decision making.
"What gave Dr. Evers the edge, I believe, besides her skill set and education, is that she is very personable," she said. "I also think her leadership skills will mesh very nicely with our principals and staff."
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Evers will face high expectations in the school district which consistently ranks at the top, or near the top, of state rankings.
"I believe she is highly qualified to not only reach, but exceed the expectations here," Kalif said.
The budget and how the school district will address recent education cuts will be a top concern for the new superintendent. Evers said she'll meet with the chief financial officer in the next few weeks to get an idea of what this year's budget will look like.
Evers has worked for the last 13 years as director of instructional programs for the Gulfport School District.
She said she'll bring her personal teaching philosophy to the new job.
"In general, it's kind of cliche, but all children can learn," she said. "It's up to us to find out how they learn. So when we provide instruction to them, we need to meet their individual needs."
Her immediate goal is to absorb the new community and culture.
"I plan to look around the area and make observations, to get a feel for how things work," she said. "Being a good listener is an important attribute to have. Right now, I'm listening to the principals and staff," she said. "I also want the parents to know that I'd like them to come up and talk to me. I will be very open with them as superintendent," Evers said.
But perhaps the most significant plan Evers has is to not make too many changes.
"This school district has been the best school district in the state for the last five years," she said. "I intend to maintain a commitment to excellence this district already has. I don't want to come in and turn over fruit baskets, and make changes, just because you can. If it's not broken you don't come in and try and fix it," she said.
Superintendent Beth John, who is retiring, said she would help Evers as much as she could.
"If there is anything I can do to be of service to the school district, I will gladly help out," John said.
Evers will start July 1.