North Mississippi school district seeking new superintendent

August 11, 2022 GMT

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A north Mississippi school district will seek a replacement for a superintendent who resigned this week after four years on the job.

Cherie Labat announced Tuesday that she is leaving the leadership role in Columbus Municipal School District, the Commercial Dispatch reported.

She released a letter announcing her resignation less than an hour before Columbus school board members held a 90-minute closed meeting to discuss her employment. Board President Yvonne Cox had announced that members would discuss “potential litigation” regarding Labat. The board had also met in executive session Monday.

When trustees reopened the meeting Tuesday, they voted to accept Labat’s resignation “upon negotiated terms.” Board attorney Chris Hemphill said the board had contacted the Mississippi School Boards Association to start the process of appointing an interim superintendent.

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Labat was hired in June 2018 on a four-year contract. In 2020, the contract was extended through June 30, 2024. Her salary was $175,000 a year.

Hemphill did not comment on the terms of the negotiations between the board and Labat or whether they involved paying some or all of her remaining contract.

In the letter sent to local media, Labat highlighted the district’s accomplishments and expressed gratitude toward the district employees. She did not give a reason for her resignation.

“Serving as superintendent of the Columbus Municipal School District these past four years was extraordinary,” Labat wrote. “During these years, my administrative team has been laser-focused on educating and helping the children at CMSD.”

She said test scores had increased except for the lower 25% in reading, and the district’s graduation rate last year was the highest percentage in more than 15 years.