New principals named for DeSoto County schools

New Principals

There will be seven new principals at schools in DeSoto County when the 2020-21 year officially begins on July 1.

They were voted on and introduced during the DeSoto County Schools (DCS) Board of Education meeting Thursday, May 7 in Hernando.

Six of the seven were assistant principals on other DCS campuses during the 2019-2020 school year. The other promotion, new Lewisburg High School principal Kris Perkins, served the past year as principal at Olive Branch Middle School.


Perkins comes to Lewisburg with the vacancy left when Chris Fleming resigned to become the new superintendent for the Senatobia Municipal School District.

The other new principals include Kristy Hale, who moves from an assistant principal position at Center Hill Elementary School to become that school’s new principal. Wendy Michael is the new Hernando Hills Elementary School principal, moving over from Olive Branch Middle School. Dr. Crystal Robinson will become the new principal at Horn Lake Intermediate School and leaves Lake Cormorant Middle School.

Sara Jane Russell will lead Southaven Intermediate School and comes there from Hernando Middle School. Adam Sikes, who has been an assistant principal at Horn Lake and Lewisburg middle schools, will assume the top role at Olive Branch Middle School. Ashley Taggart is the new principal of Olive Branch Intermediate School and comes there from Hernando High School.

Vacancies at two schools were created with the retirements of Sissy Herman (Center Hill Elementary) and Stephanie Gilder (Hernando Hills Elementary).

Carol Smith, who headed Horn Lake Intermediate School this year, will become the Director of Elementary Education for the school district. Jennifer Stripling, who was the principal of Southaven Intermediate School, is becoming the district’s new Director of Secondary Education.

Rosie King has been the principal of Olive Branch Intermediate School since 2018.


Supt. Cory Uselton said there were 33 assistant principals considered for the seven positions that were named Thursday.

“We are very excited about all of our new principals and we are confident that they will all thrive in their new roles,” Uselton said. “The principal interview committee did an outstanding job of evaluating all of the applicants.”

Board members Thursday approved new policies that could allow students to be exempt from final exams if certain criteria are met.

Middle school students could be exempt from final exams if the student has a 95 or above semester/term average in the course, if the student has an 85 or above semester/term average and doesn’t have five or more days or periods of unexcused absences for final exams, and the student hasn’t been assigned to the Alternative Learning Center for more than five days, hasn’t been suspended and/or placed in the DeSoto County Alternative Center or the Juvenile Detention Center at any time during the semester.

Excused absences will not exempt course exemptions.

High school students may be exempt from the end-of-course final exams for full credit and half-credit courses also with a 95 or higher semester/term average in the course, an 85 or higher semester average and without four or more days/periods of unexcused absences for final exams in full-credit courses or two days/periods of unexcused absences for final exams in half-credit courses.

As with middle school students, excused absences will not impact course exemptions.

Board members also approved contract agreements with Advantage Roofing Construction for a re-roofing project at Hernando Middle School. A contract agreement was approved for turf replacement of the Pool Field football surface with T3 Global Projects named to do the work.

Bids were also accepted for new camera systems in district school buses and desktop computers. Empire Truck Systems won the bid for the camera systems and Ace Computers will provide the desktop computers. All were the low bids for each item considered.

Bob Bakken/DTT