Dana Bullard

After recently serving as principal at Aberdeen High School, Dana Bullard is enjoying her return to Corinth High School.

The last few years have seen times of homecoming for Dana Bullard.

Most recently, the Aberdeen native is happy to be back full-time in Corinth, which has been home with her husband Arch for the last 25 years. There is comfort in the familiar classrooms and faces.

It is “my love,” she said. “I love the Corinth School District. I love the kids here, the community.”

She met Arch while attending Millsaps College and pursued a graduate degree at Ole Miss while her husband, an attorney, was pursuing his law degree. They moved to Corinth in 1996.

She had taught English at the college level before joining Corinth schools in 2002. She moved to the central office as the district’s Cambridge coordinator when that program launched and also began working on her doctorate at Vanderbilt University.

As she reflects on what led her into teaching, there is a momentary pause.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and I think that’s why it’s a passion of mine to help kids figure out what they want to do,” said Bullard. “Even when I was an undergraduate, I got a double major because I couldn’t decide which one to do. I love teaching, particularly at this age group, because the young adults are so full of potential.”

She enjoys helping students discover what kind of problems they would like to solve.

“I have former students who are in their 30s now and have families, and just to see what they’ve become from that young adult who didn’t really know where they wanted to go, that’s what I love about education,” said Bullard.

Returning to the Warriors came with a bit of a battle in the form of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which was surging just as the school year started.

“That first term was hard for the kids,” she said. “We quarantined more students in the first nine weeks of school than we did last year. It was triple the numbers. It was huge.”

Many students had an extended absence from the classroom because of the pandemic, and getting them back into the swing of things this year has been a top priority. The school has increased its counseling services to make sure students are getting the guidance they need.

With Covid-19 subsiding, for now, things have been on the rebound for CHS.

“Basketball is going on. Soccer is going on,” said Bullard. “We won a cross country championship. We just found out our robotics club won the best in the state, and they’re going on to Auburn to compete. We’ve got dancers competing and cheerleaders competing. They’re back into the swing. School is back on board.”

She is a big believer in the Cambridge curriculum that the district has embraced, “mainly because it’s for everybody,” she said.

While Cambridge is similar to the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, offering upper-level students the opportunity to get college credits, it goes further.

“Cambridge has a curriculum from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade, and it has curriculum for everyday kids,” said Bullard. “It raises the rigor and the learning in the classroom for kids who don’t choose to take AP.”

It is designed to encourage critical thinking and presentation skills.

“It is more difficult than a lot of other things that I’ve seen out there, but I think the kids deserve that,” she said. “I think that they can do it, number one, and I think they deserve the respect for us to be able to say, you deserve to know this, and I’m going to show you the way to do it.”

After serving as Cambridge coordinator, she went to work for the Mississippi State Department of Education for three years, serving as the director of innovative programs and accelerated programs. She oversaw AP, IB, and Cambridge for the state and worked with school districts numbering about a dozen that had District of Innovation status.

“I’ve never learned so much in such a short period of time, even going to graduate school,” said Bullard. “I traveled all over the state and all over the nation hearing different ideas about the way education should work. This gave me the opportunity to work with some of the great leaders in the state, the different superintendents and principals and vocational-technical directors.”

The job took her into schools facing all kinds of different challenges.

“Going into schools that you could see where they were in distress and in need of support and then going into very innovative schools gave me a perspective that I would have never gotten anywhere else,” said the principal.

Family circumstances then called her back to Aberdeen, as her father was ill and in need of care. She moved in with him and was able to fill an opening for principal at Aberdeen High School.

It was another challenging assignment, with the school facing serious performance issues. She helped usher in some changes and then faced another wrinkle as the pandemic began and schools had to figure out how to continue teaching.

When the call came about the principal opportunity at CHS, she was happy to get back home. When she is not in the halls of the high school, her time is often spent visiting sons and daughters who are now out on their own or tackling some home improvements.

“It’s been a blessing to work with teachers that I used to teach alongside who are still here, who know me and know my love of the kids and of the school district,” said Bullard.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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