NP Conservator Leaving

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 12, 2010

North Panola School District conservator Bob Strebeck announces resignation

By Jason C. Mattox

North Panola School District conservator Bob Strebeck will be leaving the position effective March 25.

Strebeck has been serving as the state-appointed conservator of the North Panola School District for the past two years.

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The soon-to-be former conservator said he has been considering the move for the past two months, and added that recent outbursts during an MDE public hearing had no impact on his decision.

During that meeting February 22, school board trustees and members of the community voiced concerns with way the district was being run.

“I really have been toying with this for the past couple of months,” Strebeck said. “It is time for me to make a move. I have been living out of a suitcase for quite a while now, and in the back of my mind I had hoped to give this two years.”

Strebeck said there is no way to compare the past two years of test scores, which helped trigger the previously mentioned meeting, because there were two different tests being administered.

“Comparing this year’s results with last year’s is like comparing apples to oranges,” he said. “When the results from this years test are released we will have a basis for comparison.”

Strebeck said he is proud of the accomplishments the North Panola School District has made during the past two years, but said there is a lot of work remaining.

“I see a tremendous improvement,” he said. “The infrastructure that is in the district now was non-existent two years ago. We had to start at the bottom.

“Everyone involved with this process wanted to make sure that we had everyone in the district with a sense of responsibility,” Strebeck continued. “Things within the district are progressing, and the key for them now is to continue to work with the students to keep them moving ahead.

“The ultimate success for us would be to see all of the current freshmen graduate as seniors,” he said.

Strebeck said those within the district must continue holding people accountable.

“All of the ingredients are there,” he said. “They just have to focus on one goal and move ahead.”

Stebeck said he had no regrets about his time in the district, but added that he has made friends in the community and school system that he will miss.

“It was a hard decision because of the relationships I have developed over the past two years,” he said. “I want to thank them and the representatives with MDE for their continued support.”

Leaving the North Panola School District does not mean Strebeck will not take on a conservatorship position in the future.

“I have discussed a few things with MDE about working with low-performing schools, but I plan to take at least a few weeks off before that,” he said. “If I am asked in the future, and feel I can give them the time they deserve, I would consider a conservator role.”

North Panola School District Board of Trustees President Rosa Wilson said Strebeck informed the board of his decision Wednesday night, citing health reasons.

“Right now, it is going to be hard to say whether or not this conservatorship was a success,” she said. “I guess we really won’t know until the next set of scores are released.”

Wilson said she has not heard about any potential replacement, nor has MDE verified Strebeck’s resignation.