I am sharing my thoughts on the superintendent race, one by one. Next up is Jerry Darnell.
I had always heard what an exceptional person Jerry Darnell is. I have never met one person that has one negative thing to say about Jerry or his wife, Gay! They are two of the most well liked people in the district and in the community. Anyone that has ever spent any time with them can easily understand why that is. When I first met the Darnells at a Republican Club function, I quickly saw in them, the very qualities that everyone else sees!
I am sure most people can understand what must go through the minds of some DCS employees that have never met me and work in the central office with my biggest haters. Talk circulates almost daily about DCR and never in a positive way (where certain people are concerned). With that being said, I always expect some hesitation when I first meet district personnel that have not had an opportunity to meet me and see what I am all about. I can honestly say that the Darnells were nothing but kind and an absolute pleasure to be around! I was touched by how receptive they were to me!
I will not forget MayFest this year in Olive Branch. Cory’s tent was on one side of the DCRW booth and Jerry’s tent was on the other side. The first face I saw when showing up to work my shift in the DCRW booth was Jerry Darnell. He was so sweet and gave me a big hug. Gay was smiling and waving. They gave my kids some balloons and were just as warm and welcoming as always. Jerry shared some kind words with me that truly touched my heart. And while the words were sweet and encouraging, they were not nearly as important to me as what they REALLY meant. Jerry was starting to see me as the person I am and not the person that I have been made out to be. He made my day, and I still smile when thinking about it. Jerry gave me a chance, and I really appreciate that about him and Gay. It proved to me that Jerry Darnell will think for himself. He
will listen to all opinions, but he will come to his own conclusions.
Jerry Darnell has earned the respect of many parents in this district because of his leadership as a principal and because of their interactions with him as Chief Academic Officer of the Elementary Schools. Jerry is so wonderful with the kids and just loved by all. The first word that comes to most people’s minds when thinking about Jerry is FAIR.
Jerry is known for being able to handle strong criticism and irate parents with patience, understanding and grace. People trust him and feel comfortable voicing their concerns to him without the fear of Jerry ‘telling on them’ (so to speak) or retaliation. He is known for being fair and just to all. These are important qualities to have and especially when dealing with so many schools of people: staff, parents and students. These are definitely qualities we need in our next superintendent.
Since the implementation of Common Core and especially considering the effects of it on the elementary grades, you can imagine the amount of calls that Jerry has received. Whether it has been an upset parent, a struggling teacher or a student seeking help, Jerry is one person that has always treated people with kindness and understanding, with sincerity and patience and with genuine concern. Even if a situation is not resolved to the liking of the people complaining, they always express their appreciation for Jerry’s willingness to listen and help them as much as he can. He understands the concerns with Common Core and has come out against it in this race.
There has been talk of concern that Jerry Darnell is too nice and may not be able to handle the ‘personalities’ at the central office. I firmly believe that when a person has God as the driving force in his/her life and has the interests of the students guiding his/her decision making process, that person will do the right thing regardless. I believe Jerry Darnell would prove that to be true if elected to be our superintendent. He is a well respected, good Christian man. Jerry may be good as gold, but I have faith in him to be strong for the sakes of our children. Jerry would be a breath of fresh air after the reign of our current superintendent. I appreciate the Darnells, their dedication to our kids, to the district and their hearts which are so pure and unbelievably good!! We are lucky to have Jerry Darnell as a leader in our district, and we already feel a loss now that Gay has resigned her position with DCS. Regardless of what happens with this race, I have no doubt that Jerry will be in a leadership position. He is definitely someone we need, watching out for our children. If elected, I know that he will serve us well.