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JPS School Board Approves Appointments of Two New Assistant Superintendents

April 17, 2019

Kathleen Grigsby Dionne Woody
Dr. Kathleen Grigsby Dionne Woody

Jackson Public Schools announced Dr. Kathleen Grigsby and Mrs. Dionne Woody have been appointed to serve as Elementary Assistant Superintendents in the 2019-2020 school year. These two administrators have served with excellence as principals of JPS elementary schools. They have both been recognized as JPS Administrators of the Year, which may be attributed to their notably similar philosophies of education.

Dr. Grigsby will continue to serve as the principal of Barack H. Obama Magnet School (formally Davis Magnet) until the end of the school year. Under her leadership, the school achieved and maintained the No. 1 ranking among elementary schools in the state of Mississippi based on results from end-of-year accountability tests. During Grigsby's tenure, the school received PREPS Value Added Awards in MAAP Reading and Math in 2019, 2018 and 2015. It received the award for Math in 2017 and for Highest Proficiency in Reading in 2016. Dr. Grigsby has made history at two of her alma maters. At Mississippi College, she was the first graduate of the school's doctoral program. She also holds a specialist degree from the college. At the University of Mississippi in Oxford, she was the youngest alumna inducted in the School of Education Hall of Fame in 2018. She holds a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor of Education degree in Elementary Education from the university. She was named the JPS Administrator of the Year in 2018 and went on to be selected the Mississippi Congressional District 2 Administrator of the Year. She believes educators must desire to teach and lead each child to his or her maximum potential through a whole child approach, seeking a balance between academic achievement and promoting the long-term development of all children.

"I am excited about the opportunity to lead and support more schools in our district in my role as Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools," said Grigsby. "I am grateful for the service provided to Barack H. Obama Magnet and know that the school community will continue to thrive."

Woody currently serves as the principal of Key Elementary. She helped the school maintain its B rating for multiple years until it achieved an A rating and moved up to a No. 15 ranking in 2018. Key Elementary has been profiled as a symbol of success in at least two video features—one by WJTV News Channel 12 in 2016 and a more recent documentary produced by the School Improvement team at the Mississippi Department of Education. Prior to serving at Key, Woody steered a turnaround at Bradley Elementary. The school went from low performing to successful in the four years that she was at the helm. Woody holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Science degree in Education Leadership from Jackson State University. Woody was named Administrator of the Year for Jackson Public Schools in 2016. Also in 2016, the Jackson State University National Alumni Association honored her with its Black Tie Award and the Mississippi House of Representatives saluted her with a Proclamation for her commitment in the field of Education. Like Grigsby, she has emphasized a similar whole-child approach to educating children throughout her career. Furthermore, she believes in engaging the village, parents and school partners along with teachers, in that endeavor.

As she moves forward to address new challenges in JPS, Woody is pleased with the legacy she is leaving among the faculty, staff, students and families of Key Elementary.

"Key has been a wonderful place to work and has a great family-like atmosphere that I was blessed to be part of," said Woody. "I'm so proud of the growth that the faculty and I have made together as a school family."

The JPS School Board unanimously approved the superintendent's recommendation to promote Woody and Grigsby to Assistant Superintendents of Elementary Schools at the regular Board meeting held Tuesday, April 16. Grigsby's and Woody's appointments become effective July 1.