CHS’ Peasant named Mississippi High School Principal of Year | People
CLINTON — Dr. Eddie Peasant, principal of Clinton High School, has been chosen as the 2012 Mississippi High School Principal of the Year.
Sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Peasant will represent Mississippi this fall at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
“Dr. Peasant has a leadership style that demands respect from those around him without being harsh or overly strict,” said Dr. Phil Burchfield, superintendent. “He lays out his expectations for students and staff, and holds those around him to a very high standard of achievement.”
Peasant has been Clinton High School’s principal since 2008. Since then, CHS has consistently met the state’s highest possible accountability rating, hitting the scoring benchmark for Star status each year.
In addition to the Principal of the Year award, Peasant received CPSD’s Administrator of the Year award for the 2010-11 school year. He received the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher Award in 1993-94 and was named to Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 1998.
“Dr. Peasant is an outstanding administrator who brings excellence to all he does,” Burchfield said. “He’s a good leader who holds his staff and students accountable and understands the importance of recognizing achievements. He is absolutely deserving of this honor, and I believe he will represent us well on the national level.”
Peasant is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Mississippi Association of Secondary School Principals (currently serving as president-elect), the Mississippi Department of Education Common Core State Standards Implementation Steering Committee, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Education Association, the Educational Administration Advisory Board at the University of Southern Mississippi, the National Middle School Association and formerly served on the MDE Superintendent’s Advisory Board, the Mississippi Bandmasters Association and the Capital District Band Directors Association.
Peasant earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Education degree from Mississippi College. He earned a Specialist degree and doctorate in Educational Leadership, both from USM.
He began his career in education as band director at Century High School in Escambia County, Fla., and later served as band director at Murrah High School in Jackson. He first came to Clinton High School as assistant principal in 2002, and left in 2005 to serve as principal of Gulfport Middle School in Gulfport.
He returned to CHS as principal during the 2008-09 school year.
“He has a good rapport with everybody, kids and teachers, and also parents,” said CHS Assistant Principal Kelly Heath. “He knows what the kids are capable of and expects the best out of all his teachers and the kids. That’s a lot of the reason why the kids like him. They know they have to live up to those expectations.”
Since becoming principal, Heath said, Peasant has put more emphasis on ACT review and keeping students on track who may be falling behind. He turned the school’s homeroom period into a daily time for ACT and subject area test prep, as well as college and career prep.
Assistant Principal Areda Cockrell-Harris said student achievement is at the top of Peasant’s priorities.
“We have a cart with beverages and snacks,” she said. “Principals, assistant principals and counselors try to find the perfect classroom. If a class has 100 percent attendance for the day and all the kids have done their homework and no one has detentions for that day, the entire class and the teacher get to choose two things from the cart. The kids absolutely love it.”
Also, students who score proficient or advanced on the state subject area tests receive rewards such as pizza lunch, free admission to games and free parking in the student parking lot.
Cockrell-Harris said Peasant is a “total professional” and doesn’t ask anything of his leadership team or teachers that he wouldn’t do himself.
“His leadership style focuses on students and their success,” she said. “That is his top priority in all that he does.”
He also works constantly to motivate teachers. Each day — even when he is out of the office for conferences or other travel — Peasant sends out daily focus e-mails to faculty and staff at CHS.
“He talks about striving to be the best, maintaining Star status and continuing to reach and set even higher goals,” Cockrell-Harris said. “He starts with a quote, then has news and information about student clubs and athletics, He has a note to teachers as an inspiration.”
And each e-mail ends with “Get to the Core and Raise the Score,” as a reminder to do all they can to make sure the school keeps its top accountability rating.