Pascagoula-Gautier School District Superintendent Wayne V. Rodolfich has been selected as Mississippi’s Superintendent of the Year and will now compete at the national level.
Rodolfich received his award during the Mississippi Association of School Administrators Awards Ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Ridgeland, Miss. The National Superintendent of the Year will be announced Feb. 13, 2020, at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference in San Diego, Calif.
As superintendent for the Pascagoula-Gautier School District for the past 14 years, Rodolfich was recognized for his contributions in education including the creation of the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center which has offered children and their families a free place to learn and play together for 10 years. More than 177,000 people have attended events at the center including Super Saturdays, operas, band concerts, plays, meetings and professional developments.
Rodolfich started the district’s pre-K Launch Pad at the Family Interactive Center where 4-year-olds from area childcare facilities in Pascagoula and Gautier are bussed to the center to learn kindergarten immersion activities so they will be successful when entering school. He also started the district’s first pre-kindergarten classes in six elementary schools with 96 children enrolled each year.
The district’s MAAP test scores have climbed steadily every year and this year, the district has earned the highest test scores it has ever had as part of this model. This past year, the district won the Lantern and the Torch awards for its test scores.
Rodolfich has personally made more than 500 home visits to every third grader in the district, bringing families a chapter book and stressing the importance of reading with their children. He, along with other administrators, don sandwich board signs and greet parents at area grocery stores and Walmart with information on the importance of reading with children.
He has implemented one-to-one technology in every core classroom, fourth grade through 12th grade, and has won Mississippi Technology Administrator of the Year twice. He has implemented Project Lead the Way STEM classes from kindergarten through 12th grade.
He is transforming Gautier High and Pascagoula High into College and Career Academies with field trips, internships and classes geared toward students’ interests. He has re-charged the district’s College and Career Technical Institute which now offers more career-technical courses than any other district in the state including unmanned aerial system drones and cyber-security.
He has embraced the district’s English Learner population with the district winning the State Farm $25,000 Neighbors Helping Neighbors Grant to implement a bi-lingual lending library. He starts every school year with a high energy back-to-school convocation with this year’s theme, “Be the Light.”
Every year on the first day of school, he visits all 550 classrooms in the district which encompasses 19 schools, welcoming teachers and students back to class. The district has also won numerous Mississippi Association of Partners in Education Governor’s Awards for his innovations including the “READ, READ, READ campaign, and Tech Camp for Teachers, a free technology camp offered to teachers all across Mississippi for the past four years. More than 1,000 teachers have taken advantage of this free camp which is taught by the district technology personnel and teachers.