John Curlee's twenty-eight year career as a high school principal was accentuated by leading two Mississippi high schools, Pearl High School (1991) and Tupelo High School (2000), to national distinction by both being named National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence by the US Department of Education. In 2012, Curlee became an independent contractor and worked as a conservator for the Mississippi Department of Education in failing school districts. One such district reached Successful status under Curlee's leadership, the only failing school district to reach such a level. Curlee's last leadership role was that of superintendent of the Coahoma County School District in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Curlee's father, a former successful high school principal and district superintendent, had a profound effect upon Curlee's forty-plus years as an educator. Curlee believed in setting result oriented goals, striving for excellence, and promoting high expectations.
School year 2015-16 will be my third year as conservator of the Aberdeen School District, the school district from which I graduated from high school. Progress has been made in restoring the school district to its once proud state, but much work continues. The work has been challenging in many respects, but at the same time, very rewarding.
1977 Delta State University, BSE/University of Mississippi MEd
Golden Lamp Award presented for outstanding contributions to the education and well-being of school children in Mississippi presented by the Mississippi Association of School Administrators.