Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Superintendent Speaks at African-American Leadership Conference in Jackson, Tenn.: Education Requires 'Committed Community'

Verna Ruffin is the superintendent of the Jackson-Madison Schools in Southwest
Tennessee. She spoke at a leadership conference in Jackson on April 22, 2014.
Apr. 23, 2014 4:55 AM

Jackson-Madison County Schools Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin was the keynote speaker Tuesday at the African-American Leadership Conference, where she spoke about the need for community involvement in education.

“Money is not the only thing that matters to be able to get things better on behalf of children,” Ruffin said. “It takes a committed community, it takes all of you playing a significant role, not only in the jobs you do, but by participating in various committees and various groups that can help propel the system forward on behalf of children.”

Ruffin also spoke about taking the position of superintendent in Jackson-Madison County and the questions people asked her about the decision.

“I’ve been asked a number of times, ‘Why, why would you go there? Why did you choose Jackson?’” Ruffin said. “Even in the interview process a number of times, being challenged like, ‘Why do you want this job?’ and I’m thinking, ‘Why wouldn’t I want this job?’”

Ruffin continued to encourage WestStar Leadership Program members to push forward and to look at their past as preparation for their future.

“For a very long time, I feel that I was prepared for this job as you are prepared to go out and lead within your communities,” Ruffin said. “Your experiences that you have before you land where you are help you become better where you are.”

The conference continued with speakers presenting topics ranging from financial strategies to the future of historically African-American colleges and universities.

Other speakers at the conference included Glenn Vaulx, interim president at Lane College; Terry Moore, a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Robert Nunley, coordinator for the Martin Housing Authority’s Learning Enrichment Center; Gloria Sweet-Love, NAACP state president; and Circuit Court Judge Nathan Pride.

There was also a panel discussion about the state of the Affordable Care Act, with panelists Robert Davis, from the Hardeman County Community Health Center; Ruby Kirby, administrator of the Bolivar Community Hospital; and Dr. Teresa Woodard, from Internal Medicine in Brownsville.

The conference was held at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center at 605 Airways Blvd.

Nick McFerron, 425-9643

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