PREPS WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBERS
As the 2023-24 school year begins, PREPS welcomes two new board members! We are excited to have Covington County Superintendent Babette Duty and Yahoo County Superintendent Ken Barron join our board.
Superintendent Babette Duty
Babette Duty has held positions in education across K-16 in Mississippi. She has served as a teacher, building administrator, community college instructor, director, deputy superintendent, and assistant superintendent; she is currently in her fourth year as superintendent. She began her career in education in the Covington County School District as a middle school English teacher, investing nine years in the students in the classroom. She has held the administrator positions of Elementary Principal, Special Programs Director, Federal Programs Director, Director of Curriculum and Accreditation, Deputy Superintendent, and Assistant Superintendent. Babette became the first appointed Superintendent in the Covington County School District in January 2020. An anomaly in the field, her career spans 31 years in her hometown.
She holds both her B.A. and M.Ed. from the former William Carey College now William Carey University. Babette has been recognized as Teacher of the Year twice and Administrator of the Year. Babette currently serves on the Jones College Board of Directors, on the Executive Board for the Mississippi Association of School Administrators (MASA), is a former Board member of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce and the Gulf Pines Regional Girl Scout Council Board of Directors and most recently joined the Board for the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents (MASS).
Superintendent Duty has worked closely with Jones College, William Carey University, and the University of Southern Mississippi to increase opportunities for students in the area of dual enrollment. She was instrumental in expanding the Career and Technical offerings in Covington County School District with the addition of the state’s first district-funded Electrical Lineman Program for high school students which began in school year 2021-2022. She has also collaborated with regional IHLs to explore new avenues to grow the field of education. She has joined in their effort to combat the teacher shortage in Mississippi, including partnering with them in the pursuit of grant funding specifically to support the CCSD “grow your own” teacher program. She facilitated the awarding of Unitary Status to the CCSD by the US Department of Justice in March of 2021. This measure moved the district into a new era and out of a sixteen-year U.S. Department of Justice Desegregation Order. Babette has supported grassroots efforts to present legislation to the state legislators by co-writing legislation to increase funding for public school districts specifically to be used for facilities. The bill was presented to the Mississippi State Legislature for consideration in January of 2023 and emerged as the Educational Facilities Revolving Loan Fund, making over 40 million dollars available for facility improvement in K-12 districts for the first time in decades. Babette and her husband, a retired educator, have one daughter, Laurel, who lives with her husband Stuart in Boston, Massachusetts.
Superintendent Ken Barron
Born and reared on a family dairy farm in rural Amite County Dr. Barron moved with his family to Hattiesburg at the outset of his college educational career. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University to obtain his Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies Education in August 1995.
He was married and moved to Carrollton, MS, where he took a head coaching job. He and his wife returned to Hattiesburg the following year, and he completed an internship to obtain certification, taking a Social Studies teaching and assistant baseball coaching job at Columbia HS in the spring of 1997. After a time, they moved to Simpson County where he spent six years coaching basketball and teaching at Mendenhall HS, during which time he completed two Master's Degrees from William Carey: one in Social Studies Education and one in Educational Leadership.
In the summer of 2003, Dr. Barron accepted the assistant principal position at Magee HS. After three years as assistant principal, he moved to the principal position of the Simpson County Alternative School. This afforded him the opportunity to work with students of varying backgrounds, challenges, and age levels. After a year and a half, he transferred to Magee Elementary as head principal, spending two and a half years there.
In the summer of 2010, he and his family moved to Neshoba County where he was named the head principal of the largest non-high school in the state at the time, Neshoba Central Elementary School. For four years, he worked to improve accountability scores there and in the final year, he and his staff saw a 10% increase in their accountability score. Dr. Barron was then transferred to Neshoba Central Middle School where he worked for four years as well. At the culmination of the years at NCMS, we saw an incredible jump in our accountability scores moving from the lowest possible “C” rating to a mid-range “B.”
In July 2018, he was appointed Superintendent of the Yazoo County School District. He and his faculty have made great strides in academic success, technological and curricular growth, updated physical plant needs, and maintained fiscal efficiency over these last five years. They have navigated the challenges that most others have faced during this time, transitioning through national health concerns, adjusting to multiple educational delivery methods, and improving technology and career and technical education opportunities all while continuing to improve student outcomes.
Dr. Barron has participated in multiple professional organizations throughout his career including Mississippi Professional Educators, Mississippi Association of Coaches, Mississippi Association of School Superintendents, Mississippi Association of Secondary School Principals, PREPS, and S-RESA (Southern Regional Education Service Agency). Over the past two years, he has served on the executive committee of S-RESA and will be president of the committee for 2023-24 along with joining the executive committee of PREPS. It is a humbling honor to be afforded the opportunity to serve those of my community and state.
For more information about PREPS and our board, please visit www.mspreps.org.