MOUNT IDA – Tom Wilson brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the job as he takes over as Mount Ida’s Interim Superintendent.
The Pine Bluff native has worked as a school administrator since 1979 in one capacity or another. His tenure in teaching began on the field as a coach and quickly progressed into the administrative side of education.
Schools he has served should sound familiar with most Mount Ida residents. He began his career as a principal at Eudora Junior High before moving to Watson Chapel Academy. From there he moved to Gillett to serve as principal and then superintendent.
He retired from education for a couple years to work for his father in law, but returned to school administration in 1995 as principal at Carlisle. From there he moved to England as a principal and then superintendent. He also worked at DeWitt for seven years before moving to Barton Lexa.
Wilson shared that he had retired when he left Barton, but quickly found himself working again at Ridgeway Christian School as a consultant/ high school principal. He was offered the job as their head administrator, but explained that he wanted to work closer to his home in Hot Springs.
When he found out about the opening at Mount Ida he was interested in the position and after visiting the campus and community he knew this is where he wanted to work.
He is excited about serving in an interim position, but admitted that he hopes it can develop into more. Wilson was in a similar position at Barton where he was hired as an interim superintendent and ended up superintendent for six years.
“I have found out so much about Mount Ida. It’s a great school, a great city and a great community.” Wilson stated.
Wilson admitted that there has been some turmoil and some things have happened at the school in recent times, but stated that the school is in good shape. Losing students isn’t good and is the worst thing that can happen to small schools. However he believes that with the help of his staff, the students, and the community, he can help the school succeed.
He points to the school’s sports programs as evidence of this. He talked about the tradition on the football field. He also pointed to success on the basketball court and in softball and baseball.
“I’m a big rah, rah guy.” He said. Wilson stated that he had talked to Coach Mike White and looks forward to cheering the Lions on. A 2014 inductee to the Henderson State University Ring Of Honor, Wilson understands the importance of sports to a school.
Wilson was also awarded the Rural School Superintendent of the Year Award in 2104 and knows if the school can be successful in sports then they can succeed in the classroom.
“My motto is No Excuses.” Wilson stated while pointing to a plaque stating such on his desk. He added that excuses breed failure. Wilsons added that His philosophy is to help students and adults build character by doing the right thing when no one is looking.
He feels that one of the ways to do help the school move forward is through the Flex-Mod schedule. Wilson admitted that no everyone is happy about the program. He went on to say that when someone looks at the overall schedule they can become overwhelmed by all the boxes. He stated that if you look at it as an eight period schedule it makes sense.
The key to the success of the Flex-Mod schedule, or any other program, is that everyone has to do their part. Wilson admitted that he is only as good as his lowest paid employee. He stressed that everyone has to be on board if the school is going to succeed.
“We have to put aside our differences and vendettas and do what is best for the students.” Wilson said when asked about moving forward.