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Evans confirmed as new Mississippi...

Evans confirmed as new Mississippi State Superintendent

By: Jeremy Pittari - April 5, 2024

From left are Dr. Felicia Gavin, MDE's Chief of Operations, Legislative Liaison Holly Spivey, incoming State Superintendent Dr. Lance Evans, MDE Chief Accountability Officer Dr. Paula Vanderford and Interim State Superintendent Dr. Raymond Morgigno as they address the Senate Education Committee Thursday morning. (Photo Jeremy Pittari | Magnolia Tribune)

  • The confirmation ends a years-long search that began after the resignation of Dr. Carey Wright.

This week, the Mississippi Senate overwhelmingly voted to confirm Dr. Lance Evans as the new State Superintendent of Education, ending a years-long search to fill the role.

The vote in the Senate was 51-0, with one – State Sen. Angela Hill (R) – voting present.

Evans will officially replace Interim State Superintendent Dr. Ray Morgigno on July 1st. Morgigno has been serving in that capacity since July 2023.

The new State Superintendent brings more than two decades of experience to his expanded role, having most recently served as Superintendent of the New Albany School District since 2017. He also has experience as a principal and assistant principal in the same school district.

State Senator Dennis DeBar, the Senate Education Committee Chairman, said educators expressed an interest in seeing someone who had experience working in Mississippi school districts assume the role of the new superintendent.

“Dr. Evans has worked in several districts across our state in many capacities during his 24-year career. In the Senate, we look forward to working with him to build on the significant strides we have made in the last several years in K-12 education,” said Senator DeBar.

Dr. Lance Evans

Prior to joining the New Albany School District in 2006, he was a coach, teacher and administrator at the Itawamba and Oxford School Districts.

Under Evan’s leadership, the New Albany School District earned an “A” rating as part of the Mississippi Department of Education’s assessment for the 2018-2019 school year, and he was named Superintendent of the Year in October 2023. New Albany’s School District has maintained the top assessment score since 2019.

When reached for comment, a statement from MDE on Friday said the department “looks forward to Dr. Evans starting July 1 as we continue the work to ensure success in school districts across the state.”

The selection of Dr. Evans was announced in December 2023 as part of a national search to fill the position which started with the resignation of former State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright back in June 2022.

Prior the appointment of Evans, Dr. Robert Taylor was selected to fill the role in November 2022, but Taylor did not garner the votes from the Senate needed to confirm him to the position after serving in that capacity from January to March 2023. As previously reported by Magnolia Tribune, Taylor’s selection received scrutiny from Senators over concerns with the procedures used by the State Board of Education in their application and vetting process. The legislative PEER Committee issued a report that cited a lack of transparency in Taylor’s hiring process.

Mike Kent was then chosen to fill the position as Interim Superintendent, a role he held from April 3 to June 30, 2023, before being replaced by Morgigno the following month. 

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. Email Jeremy:
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