A Message from Chad Shealy
Degrees and Certifications:
Superintendent Chad Shealy
In the book, The Leader In Me, Steven Covey outlines one of the seven habits of an effective leader as, “Begin with the end in mind.” In keeping with that spirit, we have tailored our mission statement for the Vicksburg Warren School District.
Our mission statement is: “It is our goal through relevant instruction to equip every student with the literacy and numeracy skills to succeed in challenging courses, meet academic standards, and graduate from high school prepared for college and ready for a challenging career.”
This is a focused mission that highlights the two strongest elements of why students do not complete high school. The top reason why students quit school is a lack of adequate literacy skills. They struggle with reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It is our number one focus in all content areas and in all grade levels to embed these literacy components to equip our students with the foundation to be a successful learner. Another major contributor to a student being a dropout is that they do not see the relevance in the education they are receiving. How many times have you heard a child say, “Why do I need this class?” followed by the statement, “I’ll never use this in the REAL WORLD!” It seems they have a point.
What we are developing in VWSD are opportunities for students to have learning tied to future goals. For example: sixty percent of all blue-collar jobs in the year 2020 will be STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related, 15 of the 20 fastest growing jobs in America are in STEM related professions, and 2.4 million STEM jobs will be available in the US within 5 years. We have an obligation to our state, city and more importantly our students to prepare them for the future. Creating a STEM educational focus is one example of how we can prepare students with post-graduation skills that are very relevant in the future market. We know that every child is different and a “canned” program will not work for every student, so we will need to intentionally seek to provide personal relevance. At the core of my belief are the facts that EVERY child can learn and EVERY child is worth the effort. The VWSD will seek to find those factors that challenge our students to meet the standards of graduation and preparing them for the future.
As we move forward in our efforts to do this, we will be challenged to understand a few universal truths about change. Change takes time and no one runs a gold metal race the first time. It is also important to remember that we will keep getting what we have gotten if we keep doing what we have always done.
We look forward to the greater things that are to come in this city and working alongside this community in improving the education for all of our children.
Keynote - MDE Office of School Improvement Convening
Mr. Shealy delivered this Keynote speech, Leading in Difficult Times, to educators from around the state during the Mississippi Department of Education's Office of School Improvement (virtual) Convening in January 2021.
Vicksburg Warren School District
Superintendent Chad Shealy began his work in the Vicksburg Warren School District (VWSD) in late 2013 when academic scores, graduation rates and community engagement were at an all-time low. His ability to ask challenging questions and work toward real solutions has resulted in the implementation of initiatives focused on improving student outcomes and preparing each child for college, career and life.
Under his leadership, VWSD was named one of the state’s first Districts of Innovation by the Mississippi Department of Education. He expanded the Pre-K program from four classrooms to 17, ensuring the youngest students get the head-start they need to be successful. He increased enrollment in the STEM middle school by over 300 students and created an early college program where students can earn an associate degree at the same time they are earning their high school diploma.
In 2017, Warren County was certified as a Ford Next Generation Learning Community because of the work Shealy led to transform the District’s high schools into college and career academies. Adopting the mindset that all education leads to employment, he collaborated with over 200 community and business leaders to create a master plan for the Vicksburg Warren College and Career Academies (VWCCA). Every student in grades 9 - 12 is enrolled in an academy and aligned with a graduation exit strategy which Mr. Shealy has dubbed the Four E’s. They include being enrolled in a post-secondary school, enlisted in the military, employed with meaningful credentials earned in high school, or equipped to be an entrepreneur. Dual enrollment has also greatly expanded and students earned over 7,000 college credits in the 2019-2020 school year.
His expansion of the Leader in Me initiative district-wide led to five schools being designated by FranklinCovey as Lighthouse schools. These include three elementary schools, one middle school, and one of the first two high schools to earn the status in the world. The District also earned the distinction of being a Google Reference District for its use of technology and expanding connectivity for students and staff. Batelle for Kids named the VWSD a Partnership for 21st (P21) Century Learning Exemplar for its transformative practices in equipping students with necessary skills and knowledge in 2019.
Mr. Shealy began his career in education as a teacher at Rosa Scott Middle School in Madison Mississippi, but gained most of his 21 years of experience in the Hinds County School District where he served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. His work at Hinds County was recognized when he was chosen as the School District’s 2012-13 Administrator of the Year and went on to be named Mississippi’s Administrator of the Year by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Mr. Shealy serves on Mississippi Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann's Education Council and sits on the Superintendent Advisory Boards for the Mississippi Department of Education, ThoughtExchange, and the National Center on Education and the Economy where he completed the National Institute for School Leadership training in 2019. He is currently serving as the Board Secretary for the Program of Research and Evaluation of Public Schools (PREPS) and is an active member of the Mississippi Association of Middle Level Educators (MAMLE) and served as the organization’s president in 2009.
A native of Byram, Mississippi, Mr. Shealy and his lovely wife, Shanon, reside in Vicksburg with their three sons. When he is not in his office, he can usually be found cheering on his sons’ baseball teams or spending time outdoors hunting or fishing.