A School Year Filled with Promise for South New Summit School
By: Jenny Cox Holman
With summer break in full swing for Hattiesburg students, school-aged students to teenagers are enjoying the relaxed pace of summer days. When it comes to the work of educators and school administrators, summers are a time of preparation to cultivate a fruitful school year on the horizon with innovative academic opportunities.
With the 2019-2020 school year, South New Summit School is excited to announce a new role for Sharon Ladner, former principal for the past 2.5 years. “My new role at South New Summit School will enable me to spend more time supporting teachers and students in the area of teaching and learning, which includes everything that touches the classroom: curriculum, instruction, assessment, classroom management and discipline, instructional technology, and professional development,” Ladner said.
Ladner has dedicated her career to the field of education and school administration. “My educational path to my role at South New Summit began as a middle and high school English teacher and then as part of a high school’s administrative team for
curriculum and instruction. Then I moved to the district curriculum and instruction specialist. When I retired from the Pascagoula-Gautier School District, I moved to Franklin, Tennessee, to assume an Assistant Superintendent position.”
Sharon Ladner’s work in the Hattiesburg community began at the former TIDE School, now South New Summit School. Ladner said, “I retired from the position as Assistant Superintendent of the Franklin Special School District to move to Hattiesburg to be closer to my grandchildren. Soon after the move, I missed the
rhythm of the world of education and began looking for a place I could use my talents to support students, teachers, and administrators. After a couple of years working as a consultant, I started volunteering at TIDE School, which is now South New Summit School. When TIDE’s principal left in the middle of the year, I transferred my administrative license from TN and filled the principalship role, a role I have had for the past 2.5 years.”
The charm, culture, and charisma of Hattiesburg coupled with its community of people and their southern hospitality have made Sharon Ladner and her family feel right at home. “Since Hattiesburg is a university town, it is welcoming to those of us who are ‘outsiders,’ and moved to Hattiesburg from other towns. It is large enough to have plenty of shopping and restaurant choices, yet small enough geographically to have that small-town feel. We are lucky to have great neighbors who make us feel like family,” Ladner said.
The upcoming school year for South New Summit School is filled with promise as Sharon Ladner works alongside new principal Mike Lott and South New Summit’s faculty and administration. Ladner stated, “South New Summit is a dream school for students with learning differences. Small classes enable teachers to provide learner-centered instruction based on Mississippi standards. Teachers use instructional techniques and programs that are evidence-based and support the individual learner’s instructional needs. Furthermore, teachers design instruction to build on learners’ technology and media skills by incorporating Chromebook
applications where appropriate. We believe that the social and emotional development of a child is as important as their academic growth. Therefore, we provide many opportunities for students to develop their leadership and social skills. Twice a year, students lead a conference with their parents to showcase their growth toward the academic and social goals they set for themselves.”
Looking to the future with a steadfast vision for success and educational growth and academic opportunities, Sharon is hopeful for a new school year on the horizon for South New Summit School. “My purpose in life is to support the
growth of others. There is no better career than education to support the growth of others. I know the impact that great teachers have on students, and I take my role quite seriously by constantly researching and learning about the best ways to support learning for children with learning differences. Our administrative team is excited about the upcoming school year and look forward to seeing both our new and returning students for the 2019-2020 school year,” Ladner said.