From a significant tenure as school administrator and eventually to leading the academic program for Mississippi’s largest public school district, Jim Ferguson now will take the main reins as the leader of Northpoint Christian School in Southaven.
Faculty and staff of the school were informed earlier in the week that Ferguson, who had served the past 18 months as Vice President for the Christian college preparatory school, will assume the position of Head of School.
Ferguson said he considers this appointment a “high honor.”
“I feel like this is a place where my personal life, my faith and my professional career have merged on one road,” Ferguson said. “Our mission is that we’re Christ-centered and college preparatory. Everything that we do we desire to honor Christ in our effort by integrating Biblical principles as well as Bible classes. But we also have high academic standards with a solid curriculum to prepare students for college and post-high school education.”
Ferguson assumes the position as David Manley becomes President Emeritus with his retirement. Manley, who has been dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease, will not have daily responsibilities but “will continue to offer a wealth of history and experience to Ferguson,” as stated in a news release announcing the new appointments.
As he information the Northpoint community of his retirement plans, Manley felt the time was right to have Ferguson assume the new role.
“As the disease has progressed, I have realized the Lord is redirecting my life to step aside from this ministry and hand the baton in the next lap of His race for Northpoint to Jim Ferguson and I look forward to how God will use him at Northpoint in the years to come,” Manley said. “Though I won't be leading the ministry, I am privileged to be a part of the future of Northpoint as a prayer supporter and encourager.”
Ferguson has brought his own experience and history in the educational field to Northpoint Christian School since he came to the campus in March 2016. The Durant native came to DeSoto County as assistant principal at Hernando High School in 2001. From there, Ferguson became principal at Horn Lake High School in 2003 and became district Chief Academic Officer in 2011, a position he held before his move to Northpoint.
In addition to supporting students’ faith walk and a Christian world view, Ferguson wants Northpoint students to be ready to succeed through academics in the secular world.
“We changed our assessments to focus on ACT and SAT, so we’re making a concerted effort to make sure our students are prepared for those tests,” said Ferguson. “That should increase the number of scholarships our students receive. We’ve also increased our dual credit opportunities this past year and we’ve increased the number of Advanced Placement courses that we’re offering.”
Part of his new role in assuming the duties of Head of School will have Ferguson leading a 1,000-day vision plan developed with assistance from parents, faculty and administrators to determine the school’s future direction.
In making the announcement to NCS faculty and staff, Board Chairman Shawn Clayton reflected on the role Manley has played in advancing Southern Baptist Education Center, or SBEC, ahead to where it is as today’s Northpoint Christian School.
“Northpoint Christian School has been blessed with extremely strong and stable leadership over our 45-year history,” Clayton said. “Mr. Manley has continued the tradition and has blessed so many lives as a coach, principal and school President. Mr. Manley has desired to make the passing of the baton of leadership to the right person, with the right plan, and at the right time. The time is now.”
Ferguson earned a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Mississippi.
With his wife Nancy, the Fergusons have three children. Grace Anne is a freshman at Mississippi College, Molly Beth, age 16, attends DeSoto Central High School and Jay, age 14, attends Northpoint.
He wants to ensure that the youngsters who attend Northpoint are completely ready for the future in knowledge and in faith, along with encouragement to always stay grounded in their faith.
“We saw some research last week were students who even grow up in a Christian home, 50 percent of them walk away from their faith,” Ferguson noted. “We’re very conscious of that and we’re going to be very intentional at making sure that we give our students the foundation that they need.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.