by Hunter Dawkins

Standing room only came to the Harrison County School Board meeting Monday night for the annual honoring of the teachers and administrators at the Henry Arledge School District Building in Gulfport.  After approving the agenda and the past minutes from the last meeting in early February, the Harrison County School Board presented teachers awards from the 22 schools along with the administrator of the year.  The entire list can be seen on the Harrison County School District website ( or their Facebook profile.

The Harrison County School District Teacher of the Year for 2018 went to Ms. Kathryn Farmer from West Wortham Elementary & Middle School while the Administrator of the Year was Melanie Upton from the same school.  Farmer will advance to the state competition for the State Teacher of the Year after winning the school district’s prestigious award.

Following these presentations, the Federal Programs Director Melissa Garrison gave updates on Additional Targeted Support & Improvement (ATSI) plans for the school district, stating that no money was left for district improvement.  Board Member, Dr. Barbara Thomas asked about the change in curriculum for all schools where Superintendent Roy Gill responded by expressing the “focus is on schools not progressing as much.”

Garrison completed her presentation saying the rights were not virtual yet and each school with ATSI plans should facilitate different instruction.

Next, Child Nutrition Director Brad Barlow spoke of a memorandum of understanding with the Gulf Coast Dietetic Agreement to having internships.  According to Barlow, these graduate students will be placed in a managerial setting.

In other actions, 16 consent agenda items were adopted, such as approval of application for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) School Bus Replacement Rebate Program to replace two school buses in accordance with the School Board Policy on March 2, 2015.

Finally, School Board Architect Marty Hardy, partner of Hardy & Associates, delivered the most troubling news of the night.  Hardy addressed the Board in concern about the use of the original site planned for the West Harrison Middle School.  Apparently, this place was tested with plenty of geotechnical work, which produced bad results.  A delineation of the soil and various other problems caused unconditional problems that were not accounted for.

Hardy expressed a different location close to Wolf River Road that is set on 2 1/2 acres of wetlands and would require a lift station.  Then, he stated the need to bring this property before the Army Corps of Engineers and MDEQ to receive mitigation or a grade of the wetlands.

The Gazebo Gazette will pay attention to this plan and keep the public up-to-date on the progress once a resolution is approved to receive the $55 million Harrison County bond money.