Phillips will lead South Panola Schools

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Former SP Principal returning to Batesville from Sumner County, TN

Staff Report

The South Panola School District Board of Trustees announced this week that Dr. Del Phillips, III, has been named Superintendent, effective July 1. He replaces retiring Superintendent Tim Wilder.

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Phillips, a former South Panola High principal and district director of athletics, is the Director of Schools in Sumner County, TN, until June 30. 

Sumner County is the eighth largest school district in Tennessee with more than 30,000 students and 4,500 full-time employees. His 12-year tenure there makes him one of the longest serving directors in district history.  

Sumner County Schools rank first in Tennessee for the number of certified STEM schools and first in Tennessee for approved career and technical pathways.  

The search for a new superintendent for South Panola Schools included multiple meetings of the trustees and a public hearing for input from the community. 

The final two candidates for the position were Phillips and current SP Asst. Superintendent Dr. Jamone Edwards. Phillips was chosen by a vote of 4-0 with board member Jerry Cooley abstaining.

Cooley told The Panolian on Tuesday he did not participate in the final vote because Phillips will also continue to work as a consultant for the new superintendent in Sumner County. He is already under contract there for the 2023-24 school year.

Phillips holds an undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University as well as graduate degrees from The University of Mississippi. 

He completed his Ph.D. from Ole Miss in May, 2000, and was a 1998 Thomas Ward Fellow at Harvard. 

Prior to his Sumner County position, Phillips was superintendent of schools in Columbus, and associate superintendent in Springfield, MO.

Phillips is a native of Northeast Mississippi. His father was an educator for more than 36 years in Mississippi and his mother retired from the school system in 2000. 

He and his wife, Amy, own his family farm in Corinth as well as properties in Batesville, Como, Curtis, and Tallahatchie County.