By Taylor McKay Hathorn
The Clinton Public School District announced on February 19 that it had tapped Dr. Andy Schoggin for the top job, naming him Superintendent to fill the vacancy created by the departure of current superintendent, Dr. Tim Martin, at the close of the 2020-21 school year. Schoggin is currently the assistant superinten- dent and the chief operations officer for the Petal Public School District, near Hattiesburg.
Q: How did you get into administration?
A: I had my first opportunity (to work in administration) when I was in DeSoto County. I worked with strong administrators, and the principal recommended me for a program at Delta State University. They had an internship program where you would intern for an entire year while going to school. It put you on the academic side of things while being a practitioner, and I got to do a lot of different things and glean what [those administrators] did well. It re-ally equipped me to think differently about school leadership and what an important job it is for our teachers and students. That was a foundational part of [my experience], but I’ve had the opportunity to progress from there.
Q: What made you decide to apply for this job in particular? Why Clinton?
A: When you look at schools and communities, you see such an inter- dependence. You see the community of Clinton and the success of Clinton, and there’s such a mesh there. That’s the type of environment I’m in now, and the type of environment I want for my wife and son. It makes it easy to view this as an attractive po- sition. The success and the history of the Clinton Public Schools is part of that. It’s a challenge, too. There are really high expectations for the community itself and the quality of the school system. My family and I look forward to that and to being a part of that.
Q: Right, the Clinton Public School District definitely has a tradition of excellence. How do you plan to continue that?
A: It starts with using the talents of people who are already there. It’s not by accident that they have had sustained success; it’s because of the people in the community and in the schools. Great communities deserve great schools, and they won’t tolerate any less. It’s up to us collectively to make sure we capitalize on people’s strengths. The exciting thing is that there’s still potential, but you have to give people opportunities to use their talents in specific ways to keep that going.
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: I would say the biggest part of what I do is built through relationships. That’s the key part of any successful organization. We work with talented people who are good at their jobs. It’s incumbent on me to build relationships that can further those high expectations. That’s what I want our school community to be — I think you have to give people the opportunity to perform their jobs at a really high level. They’re talented people with a drive to perform. We have to maximize their strengths, and we have to give them opportunities to utilize those strengths.
Q: What will be your top three priorities when you assume office?
A: My number-one priority is to work with personnel. I understand that people are in place for a reason. I want to know and have relationships with people in the district. Second, I want to understand the culture and tradition. There’s a strong culture that’s been established, and I want to be part of that. Last, I want to find out what further opportunities there are. There are still opportunities, and that’s the exciting thing about being part of the school and the community.
Q: What are you and your wife and son most looking forward to about moving to the Clinton area?
A: I think we see Clinton as having a small town feel, and we look forward to being part of that. When we join a community, it’s up to us to find ways to get involved. We want to be part of the community, and from my position to hers as a teacher and our son’s as a sixth-grade student, there’s a lot of ways to get plugged in. That’s how you have buy-in: to get there and to get invested.