by Brian Lamar, Assignment Editor
Jeff Sutton will begin his debut in the school administrator’s version of the “Big Show” as he takes the reigns of Long Beach High School during his 17th year of being an educator.
Recently during a Long Beach School District (LBSD) School board meeting, the announcement was made that Sutton would be plucked from his Ocean Springs High School assistant principal position and placed into the principal position at Long Beach High was greeted with many positive remarks throughout the room. Dr. Talia Lock will be vacating her position as Long Beach High School principal at the end of the school year.
“When searching for the new high school principal, we were not looking for someone who could just “run a building”. There is a foundation of excellence at Long Beach High School, and Mr. Sutton’s experience can help take us to the next level of excellence. I firmly believe Long Beach has the best students, parents, teachers and community. He will add so much to our school with his vast knowledge and experience of high school. He has proven to be an administrator that wants what is best for students and is able to build positive relationships with students, parents, and those that work with him. I am very excited to work alongside Mr. Sutton,” said Dr. Talia Lock; the current outgoing LBHS principal, and incoming LBSD Superintendent.
Although originally from Brandon, Mississippi, Sutton immediately felt comfortable in Long Beach.
“One of the things that always stood out to me here in Long Beach is the community and culture. Also, all of the teachers I’ve met so far were impressive and phenomenal. You can tell this is a place where everyone wants to get better each day and keep building off of success to help the students succeed not only in school, but all the way out into the real world. That’s what is special about this distinct,” said Sutton.
Even though Sutton originally had goals for a career in the news and was only one semester away from a degree, fate blew her siren song and drew Sutton toward a completely different mission in life and followed his parent’s footsteps into the education field.
“I was a broadcasting and journalism major. That was something that I was really interested in. One summer I started working with youth groups. I noticed how much I was enjoying working with the high school-aged kids. It was something I never noticed as a career before. I found that I really enjoyed what I was doing and watching young people grow into improved versions of themselves,” Sutton explained.
For the past 17 years, Sutton has taken on a myriad of tasks that has rounded out his experiences as an educator. According to Sutton, this assortment of jobs in the education field has armed him with an array of tools to see them through.
“You can’t just look at one thing. The sum of my experiences has put me in the best possible position to do this job. No one job has prepared me for this. You can’t be an effective administrator if you don’t understand the dynamics in the classroom. Teaching in the classroom was the big thing for me. I love being in the classroom. That is where the magic has happens,” said Sutton who has taught traditional classes, art, coached athletes and assisted JROTC programs. Sutton believes that his time as an administrator at OSHS was crucial for learning what it takes to run a school on a day-to-day basis like handling drills, ensuring safety protocols, facility management, etc.
Sutton feels that his guiding principle when he questions what he should do in his leadership role is basic and easy to follow. He recites back to his career-long mantra. “Is it best for the students?”
“Everybody has their theory or philosophy on education. My method is simple. If you ever have a question about what you are doing in education, ask yourself is it the best for the students. If the answer is no, you need to change the plan,” said Sutton.