The DeSoto Digest
A publication of DeSoto County Schools
September 2014
DeSoto Central Principal Named
"Mississippi High School Principal of the Year"
     DeSoto Central High School Principal Cory Uselton was named the Mississippi High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and is headed to Washington, DC in September to represent the state. He will also be a contender for the National High School Principal of the Year, an announcement that will come at the national meeting.
     Gary Smyly, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Secondary Schools Principals, presented the award  at the DCS Board of Education's regular August meeting. 
     DCHS has been a Star and "A" rated school in Mississippi each year Uselton has been its principal and was recognized by Newsweek Magazine as one of "America's Best high Schools" in 2013.
     He coined the phrase, "When you play one of us, you play all of us," a phrase that has fostered unity at their school in athletics, academics and extra-curricular activities.
     "DeSoto Central is unique because we are the one high school that does not have a community," Uselton said.  "We've got to support each other and we've got to help each other to support our goals, not just in athletics but in everything we do."
     Uselton is the fifth administrator to be recognized by this organization.  Other winners of this top title include Supt Milton Kuykendall (when he was principal at Horn Lake High School),  School Board Member Theron Long (when he was principal of Hernando High School),  Freddie Joseph (current Hernando High principal), and Chris Fleming (when he was principal at Lewisburg Middle School-now principal of Lewisburg High).
New Facilities Kick Off New School Year
     A new ninth Grade Academy at Southaven High School and an additional wing of eight classrooms at Southaven Elementary School  were put into operation to start the 2014-2015 school year at DeSoto County Schools.
      A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the  Academy  was unveiled in front of officials that included local and state government representatives and members of the community .  The Southaven Police presented the colors and the award-winning Southaven High School Band provided music as guests arrived.
     "The ninth grade year is the benchmark year for those students who are entering high school," said Shane Jones, principal of Southaven High.  "Data tells us if you don't have a successful 9th-grade year, you lose them.  It is a pivotal year in a student's education.  They are transitioning from middle school to high school and it is a big switch."
   About 550 freshmen began classes in this new facility which costs $4.6 million and houses 25 classrooms.    "Students will use the SHS cafeteria and gym facilities-so they really have the best of both worlds, a small, safe learning environment and a large cafeteria, gym and athletic facilities."
     SHS Assistant Principals Michelle Boardwell and Rob Cushman will run the ninth Grade Academy, under the direction of Jones. 
     At the ribbon cutting, Representative Wanda Jennings and Southaven Mayor Darren 
Musselwhite  gave a community response to what these new facilities will mean to the area, saying  DeSoto County Schools educate a well-prepared workforce and is driving the economic development of the area. 
     Christy Johnston, principal of Southaven Elementary, said her new hall and classrooms have allowed her to have a fourth grade hall and have given her school a new look with bright blue and white hallways.
New School Year
"This is probably the best start we have ever had.  The transportation department got every child home by 5:35,  about 30 
minutes faster than we have ever done before.  It was a smooth beginning," said Supt. Milton Kuykendall.  "Heavy rain hit Hernando as school was dismissing.  I have had many emails from parents commending the teachers in Hernando who carried the little students to their parent's cars under umbrellas so they would not get wet. That is the kind of teaching staff we have."

     Community partners showered the school district with new school supplies.  Employees from Siemens delivered three carloads of filled backpacks to Southaven Elementary School and then toured the 

campus, which included eight new classrooms to meet Southaven's

growing student enrollment.  The Krewe of Hernando provided 27 new backpacks filled with supplies to Youth Villages in Hernando. Chick-fil-A has an annual "Topple the Truck" effort to gather school supplies and support the Foundation for Excellence in Education Teacher Grant Program.  Chick-fil-A delivered a busload of supplies which will be distributed to counselors and presented a check for $3,015 for teacher grants.  Radio station 95.3 The Rebel partnered with the community to provide school supplies for students. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated - Psi Beta Zeta Chapter of Southaven donated backpacks filled with supplies (ZPacks) to DeSoto County Schools.
Four Schools Unite at Lewisburg
for Family Fun Event
Lewisburg High School teachers and students turned out to take part in the LHS Family Day.  From left, Ashley Godwin, Maggie Dennis, Gabe Dennis and Patricia Clayton.

Julie Nelson, a teacher at DeSoto Central Middle, and Kennon McWilliams, teacher at Center Hill Elementary, welcomed the River Kings mascot at the Lewisburg High School 5K Run.

     Triple digit temperatures did not curb the enthusiasm of runners and walkers for Lewisburg High School's 2nd annual Patriot Day 5K Run/Walk and one-mile fun run which took place on Craft Road.     The event was held Saturday, August 23rd  and proceeds from the event went to support the Football Booster Club.

     In addition to the run, four Lewisburg schools joined forces to have a place for families, neighbors and supporters of Lewisburg schools to come together.  

The Overall 5K winners are, from left, Patricia Clayton and Mischa McCray.

More than 25 vendors 

participated in the event that included arts and crafts, food, carnival games, and water slides. The student council members washed cars, parents served snow cones, and the PTO had an "ice water challenge" to add to the fun.

     "We are excited about the second year for this event," said Jeff Kuntz, president of the LHS Football Boosters Club. "Not only does it help fund our football booster club, it promotes the healthy lifestyle we encourage in our school system and it enables 
Lewisburg Elementary teachers Kendra Littleton and Lori Gilbert hit the ground running to support LHS.
our students and families to engage in a healthy family activity 
We are getting bigger and better every year."
      Awards were given to the overall male and female winners in various age groups in these categories: 5K Run, 5K Walk and one-mile fun run. The overall winners were Patricia Clayton, a teacher at Lewisburg High School, and Mischa McCray, a teacher at Greenwood Public Schools.
The Peabody Ducks
Land at Hernando Elementary School

   Instead of frolicking in a fountain in the Peabody Hotel, the Peabody ducks marched on their red carpet at Hernando Elementary School to the delight of 644 students.
   Going south by car instead of flight intrigued this elementary school of kindergarten and first graders.
   "How did the ducks get here?" one inquiring mind wanted to know.
    "They came by car with me," said the Duckmaster.
   "Did they fly around in your car?"
   "No, they have a traveling cage and they like to ride in it."
  The Duckmaster read "The Peabody Ducks"  to the students which explained how the Peabody ducks live on the hotel roof top  in a "Duck Palace" and make daily treks to the lobby.
   Duckmaster Anthony Petrina is solely responsible of the care and 

well-being of the Peabody ducks, including feeding and training the teams for their twice-daily marches.  When not tending to the five North American mallards, he acts as a public ambassador for the hotel, greeting guests in the Grand Lobby, conducting tours, doing media interviews, and making community outreach appearances, such as their trip to Hernando Elementary School.
   The position of "Duckmaster" at the Peabody Memphis is the only such position in the world.  There have been only five since the program started in the 1930s.

Recycling at DeSoto County Schools
Less is More


     Finding a recycling company to pick up schools' mounds of paper and cardboard free of charge has posed a problem, but DeSoto County School District is partnering with the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors and Mississippi Recycling to make this happen.
    This partnership will save the school district money and provide free services to the public.
   Kicking off August 29th, "area" bins will be in place.  Here is the plan:
  • Mississippi Recycling will pick up at the Horn Lake and Southaven Schools, including Horn Lake Elementary, Horn Lake Intermediate, Horn Lake Middle, Horn Lake High, Southaven Elementary, Hope Sullivan Elementary, Shadow Oaks Elementary,  Southaven Middle, Southaven High, Southaven Intermediate, DeSoto County Alternative Center and Greenbrook  Elementary.
  • DeSoto County Board of Supervisors will pick up at the following locations:  Walls Elementary, Olive Branch Intermediate, Lewisburg Elementary School, Lake Cormorant Middle, Hernando High, Olive Branch High, DeSoto Central High, Center Hill Elementary and the Hernando Board of Education.
  "While we do not have bins at every school, we have tried to position them at area schools," said Ray Laughter, recycling manager for DeSoto County. These bins are open to the public and we hope we can produce enough material that we can reach out to all school locations."
   The recycle bins are clearly marked with the word "RECYCLE", and are often near the cafeterias since this group generates so many boxes.
   "This is a good project for DeSoto County Schools because it teaches students about the importance of protecting the environment," said Lee Caldwell, special projects manager for DeSoto County Schools and president of the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors.  "It is good for the Board of Supervisors to participate because every piece of paper that is recycled keeps it from filling up our landfills."
   Mississippi Recycling is helping DeSoto County Schools hold down costs by providing pick-up service at twelve schools.  Caldwell said the goal is to have pick-up sites at all schools, but this program will keep the program working in schools and make bins available to the public.
    "We are encouraging our students and the public to be good stewards of our environment," Caldwell added.  "When the county, schools and private businesses work together, great things can happen in our community."
The DeSoto Digest is a publication of the
Communications Department
DeSoto County Schools
5 East South Street, Hernando
Mississippi 38632
Katherine Nelson, Director

The DeSoto County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.
The DeSoto Digest is produced by the Communications Department and delivered to all employees and subscribers on the first of each month.

For additional news about DeSoto County Schools, please visit  DCS News or follow us on


Katherine Nelson
Director of Communications
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New Faces
New Places
Assistant Principal
Sid McNeil, OBHS
Assistant Principal
Malinda White, HHS
Assistant Principal
Chris Shepard, HHS
Assistant Principal
Pam Fowler, GES
Assistant Principal
Josh McIntyre, HLMS
Assistant Principal
Cherlyn Maxwell, HLMS
Assistant Principal
Stephen Cooper, HLMS
Assistant Principal
Sherry Anderson, OES
Assistant Principal
Donny Smith, SHS
Assistant Principal
Erin McElvea, HLIS
Assistant Principal
Tyrone Hall, HLHS
Assistant Principal
Rosie King, SES
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LHS Patriot Day 5K Run/Walk
Zoe Mailhot won the 10 and under category .
LHS Patriot Day 5K Run/Walk
Lori Freeman, parent volunteer, welcomed the ice water challenge to cool things off.
LHS Patriot Day 5K Run/Walk
Jeremy Boler, eighth grade science teacher at Lewisburg Middle School, did not mind the sweltering temperatures.

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2014 - 2015
 School Year


August 4th (Monday)

Teachers 1 st Day


August 7th (Thursday)

Students 1st Day


September 1st

Labor Day

October 13th & 14th

Fall Break


November 4th

Professional Development
(Students & Teacher Assist.)

(Election Day)


November 26th-28th

Thanksgiving Holidays


December 22nd (Monday)

- January 2nd
Christmas Holidays

and New Year's


January 2nd (Friday)

Teachers Return


January 5th (Monday)

Students Return


January 19th

Lee/King Holiday


February 13th (Friday)

Professional Development


February 16th

Washington's Birthday


March 9th-13th

Spring Break


April 3rd

Good Friday


April 6th (Monday)

Easter Holiday


May 22nd (Friday)

Students Last Day


May 25th

Memorial Day


May 26th (Tuesday) 

Teachers Last Day


Scheduled makeup days are

December 22
February 13
February 16 

April 6


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