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New conservator takes reigns at HCSD

Bonnie L. Jackson, News Editor

Dr. Leslie L. Daniels is the new State-appointed Conservator for the Hazlehurst School District.

Dr. Daniels is the fifth conservator appointed to the school district since the state took control in 2008.

“I want to put the children first. That will ensure that the school system is working at successful school status,” Daniels said.

He believes that he is quite possibly the best one to fill the position for three reasons: Dr. Daniels  is a 47 year veteran of  Mississippi educational system; he knows the history of the Hazlehurst School District; and he wants to restore the school district back to its former glory.

Dr. Daniels earned his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.   He earned his Master’s and Specialist Degrees in Educational Administration from Southwestern Louisiana University.  He has a BA in History and Political Science with a minor in Education from Tougaloo College.

To his credit, Daniels has an insiders view of the educational system and how it works.  He worked his way up the ladder. “I have served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

Most notedly, Daniels served as the first African American principal and Superintendent for the McComb High School system. Also, he was appointed as the first African American superintendent for the Greenwood Public School District in 1996.

Dr. Daniels has received numerous awards including the Dan Merritt Courage Award (2002) which is given by the PREPS (Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools).

The Greenwood Public School District received the Most Improved District Award from the State Department of Education under Dr. Daniels’ leadership.

The Dan Merritt Courage Award was given to Dr. Daniels at the PREPS Winter Conference in 1997 for his continued and repeated service to the Jackson Public School District.   

Dr. Daniels is an active member of  New Zion M.B. Church in Greenwood and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

He is married to Bernice, and they have two children: Kim Daniels and Daryl Daniels. Both children are educators.

Daniels was on the job on Friday, April 1, 2011.

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