Dr. Verna Ruffin

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Incoming Superintendent Giving Input on Long Range Plans

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - Verna Ruffin did not hold back in her first school board meeting since being hired as superintendent. Ruffin came to the meeting with goals already in mind and how to accomplish them which surprised the board who was presenting their goals to be accomplished by the year 2015.

Ruffin said she is ready to get going.

"I'm inspired, I'm excited, I'm a little bit anxious about getting here quickly," she said.

Literacy is one of the main things the board aims to tackle by 2015. The board hopes to begin encouraging reading as early as the womb by working with hospitals to distribute learning information to new parents and by partnering with daycare in the area.

The board aimed its 2015 strategic plan by correcting educational issues early to avoid set backs later. Currently, 65 percent of students are starting kindergarten too late. Ruffin said working with the community and parents will greatly improve children's educational track.

"We really need to take kids where they are now, and be able to move them forward," she said.

One of Ruffin's personal goals is to be able to gauge how students have grown from the beginning of a school year to the end. She said the key to this is working closely with teachers.

"How we prepare teachers and leaders to meet the needs of students is critical for me," Ruffin said.

The Jackson-Madison County School Board said while literacy decreased last year, overall the school district has had less severe disciplinary problems. Superintendent Ruffin officially begins her position July 1.