Carl Merritt, Poplarville Schools Superintendent, has been nominated for the Mississippi Association of School Administrators (MASA) 2018 superintendent of the year.
Mr. Merritt has presided over a significant period of student academic growth and district accomplishments since taking the role as superintendent in 2007. During that time Poplarville High School was named a National Blue Ribbon High School in 2008 and gained media attention. The district has also been recognized as a Lantern Award winner for each year of Merritt’s leadership as well as receiving PREPS Award.
Recently, the Poplarville School District saw growth from the 2016 to the 2017 school year. The proficiency level grew from 2016 to 2017 from 36% to 43% in english/language arts and from 35.9% to 46.42% in mathematics for the percentage of students scoring at level 4 of proficiency. Also notably, ACT composite scores in the district have risen almost 10% as of last year. The Poplarville School District has seen a rise in graduation rates from 77% to 90% over the last few years.
“These advancements can be attributed to new initiatives such as the District Instructional Teams, Graduation Coaches, Strategic Planning, and Professional Learning Communities,” Mr. Merritt stated. “But, the biggest asset we have is great people: students, teachers, administrators, staff, and community leaders. Everyone has worked tremendously hard to achieve the impressive results we see today.”
Bringing the learning community together has been a focus of Merritt within the last year with the creation of the ONE campaign.
“Unity was identified as a need for development with all stakeholders. In order to unite everyone, a new district motto was developed and presented to the board of trustees for official approval. ONE District, ONE Community, and ONE Family has become our uniting motto.” Merritt stated. All communications from the district and each school serve to unit the district under this motto. This is the first time that all four schools in our district have used the same motto. It is believed that ONE allows us to focus on each student as an individual and each educator as they work to improve achievement outcomes of every student within our district.
Mr. Merritt has been honored by many awards during his tenure. He was tapped as the Poplarville District Administrator of the Year. He also has the honor of being the only individual inducted into two William Carey University Hall of Fames: the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. He is a member of the Pine Belt Superintendents Association, Gulf Coast Education Consortium (board member), and has served as Executive Secretary and Executive Vice President for the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents.
Community involvement has also been a hallmark for Merritt. He is a member of the Main Street Baptist Church in Bogalusa, LA and has served as youth minister and other capacities. He has worked with Brother’s Keepers, several relief funds, the Poplarville Chamber of Commerce, and the Washington Parish Shriners. Merritt is a member of the Masonic Lodge 244 and is active in that organization’s children’s outreach programs.
The 2018 state superintendent of the year will be announced October 31, 2017 at MASA’s annual fall meeting and leadership conference.