Superintendent post in spotlight Tuesday

Election officials are hoping for a decent turnout in Tuesday's runoff election.

Of all the races on the runoff election ballot this Tuesday, the main spotlight is on the runoff between the top two finishers in the Aug. 4 GOP primary for DeSoto County Superintendent of Education.

Those two candidates are, respectively in alphabetical order, Jim Ferguson and Cory Uselton. In the primary election contest, the two candidates did not gain the necessary 50 percent majority plus one to avoid a runoff.

Polls are open across the county in 39 precincts from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

If the percentage of absentee voters is any indication, turnout could be less than in the primary election. According to Circuit Court officials, 382 absentee ballots have been cast so far. Today at noon is the deadline to vote absentee in Tuesday's election.

Both Ferguson and Uselton are veteran educators vying to become superintendent of Mississippi's largest and fastest growing school system with 33,000-plus students in 42 schools across DeSoto County.

Ferguson, 45, is the Chief Academic Officer for High Schools for the DeSoto County School District. Ferguson taught mathematics from 1990 until 2000 at Horn Lake High School. He was named principal of Horn Lake High School in 2003. Ferguson was named DeSoto County Schools "Administrator of the Year" and former "Chickasaw Conference Baseball Coach of the Year."

Ferguson is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics Education and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi.

Uselton, 46, is principal at DeSoto Central High School, where he has served since 2009. He has also served as Principal at Senatobia High School. Uselton has served as Assistant Principal at Horn Lake High School and both taught and coached basketball at Hernando, Charleston and Pontotoc high schools before moving into school administration. He has also served as an adjunct professor for the University of Mississippi in the university's College of Education. Uselton was named the State of Mississippi's "Principal of the Year" in 2014.

Uselton has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Memphis, a master's degree in Education from Delta State University, and a specialist's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi.

Also on the ballot are candidates vying for District 2 Justice Court Judge, Steve Dodd and Larry Vaughn; Mississippi House of Representatives District 24 hopefuls Rob Goudy and Jeff Hale; DeSoto County Supervisor District 5 candidates Michael Lee and Milton Jones; and District 3 Constable candidates Brandon "Bubba" Hylander and Keith Combes.

Robert Lee Long can be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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