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Dr. Lance Evans named Mississippi State...

Dr. Lance Evans named Mississippi State Superintendent

By: Jeremy Pittari - December 20, 2023

Evans currently serves as superintendent of New Albany School District. The Mississippi State Senate will consider his confirmation during the 2024 session.

Dr. Lance Evans has been named Mississippi’s new State Superintendent after an extensive search by the Mississippi State Board of Education and Mississippi Department of Education.

He will assume the position on July 1, 2024.

As part of the appointment process, Evans will still need to go before the State Senate during the upcoming legislative session so his appointment can receive final approval.

SBE’s previous appointment to this position, Dr. Robert Taylor, did not make it through the Senate confirmation process, as Taylor failed to reach a positive vote by Senators.

The Mississippi State Board of Education began accepting applications for a new state superintendent back in August of this year.

Dr. Carey Wright retired in June of 2022. Wright’s replacement was initially Dr. Taylor, but after his unanimous approval by SBE in Nov. 2022, and serving in that role from January of this year to March, the Senate declined to confirm Taylor in a 21-31 vote. Reasons for not confirming Taylor included alleged issues with the process SBE used to hire him, as previously reported by Magnolia Tribune. A PEER committee report issued prior to the confirmation hearing found the selection process SBE used lacked transparency. The vote on the Senate floor appeared to be divided along party lines, with only five Republicans backing Taylor’s appointment.

After the Senate declined to confirm Taylor, Mike Kent was named as interim superintendent from April 3 to June 30 of this year, followed by Dr. Ray Morgigno who took over as the state’s interim superintendent beginning July 1. 

According to MDE’s timeline, a new state superintendent was expected to be named this month upon the completion of reviewing and interviewing candidates.

Evans joined the New Albany School District in 2006. He currently serves as the superintendent for the New Albany School District, a position he was appointed to in 2017. Under his leadership, that school district earned an “A” accountability grade for the 2018-2019 school year, a grade the district has held ever since. New Albany School District has a total of 2,134 students.

The new state superintendent has been described as innovative, community minded and committed to workforce development by other superintendents in the state. Evans previously held the role of president of Mississippi Association of School Administrators and is still serving his term as the Magnolia State’s representative on the national governing board.

Prior to his appointment to the top spot with the New Albany School District, Evans held administrative roles such as principal and assistant principal of that district’s high school and the New Albany Elementary School. Before joining the New Albany School District, he served in the Itawamba and Oxford County School Districts as a teacher, coach, and administrator.

Evans was named Superintendent of the Year back in October of this year.

“Dr. Evans is a visionary leader who is committed to continuously improving student achievement,” said Glen East, SBE chair. “The Board sought broad public input about the qualities and priorities the next state superintendent of education should have, and Dr. Evans meets all of our expectations.”

Evans is married to Brandy and the couple have two children; Katie, a sophomore at Mississippi State University, and Landon, a freshman at New Albany High School. Evans and his family are members of the First Methodist Church New Albany.

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics.