Before Donna Bishop became the assistant principal at Winona Secondary School, she had never visited the area.
Bishop is preparing for her first year, she will be over Curriculum and Instruction, while Assistant Principal Veronica Helm and Principal Mike Guttuso will be over discipline. “We make a great team together. When we first met, we just clicked right away,” she said.
Bishop isn’t new to leadership. She worked 17 years in the Rankin County School District.
“I started out as a science teacher,” she said.
Bishop said she worked five years at Brandon Middle School as a seventh and eighth grade teacher. She and her husband, Johnny, then moved to Pelahatchie, where she taught eighth grade science, High School Botany, Microbiology, Psychology, Sociology, Chemistry, Biology II and Dual Enrollment Biology I and II for Hinds Community College. She then taught at Puckett Attendance Center, where she served as a curriculum specialist, elementary principal and an assistant principal.
She also taught one year in the Vicksburg-Warren School District as a lead teacher at Redwood Elementary and two years in the Hinds County School District as an assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary.
However, after her husband passed away, she decided to take a break and help her children get settled in, and she lived in Hattiesburg for a year. She said her twins moved to the Gulf Coast, and she decided in March to send out her resume and see where she was led. She ended up in the Crossroads.
“I feel like I was led to be here, that God sent me here for a reason,” Bishop said.
After seeing the opening for the position in Winona, she applied. Everyone talks about taking a leap of faith and just doing it, but Bishop is living it. For her, she’s couldn’t have made a better choice.
“I love it here,” she said. “Everyone has been so welcoming.”
She said after 21 years in education, she’s worked under a few superintendents, but she said Dr. Teresa Jackson has to be one of the best superintendents that she’s worked under.
“She’s very encouraging,” Bishop said. “She’s caring, and she’s willing to work with us. I love it, and I love the atmosphere that she’s created here.”
Bishop said her focus is on curriculum and instruction and progressing Winona Secondary School academically.
“My belief is that all children are entitled to the best education possible,” she said. “I’m laser-focused on making sure our children receive that.”
Her goal is to make sure that when students leave Winona, there are prepared for whatever they choose.
“We want to ensure that every student that leaves Winona Secondary School is well-prepared for their future endeavors, whether that includes going straight into the workforce, going into a technical/vocational school or going to a two-year or four-year college or university,” she said. “We are going to do everything within our power to make sure that every student is prepared for success.
Bishop said she has high expectations for the staff and students.
“I hope to develop a good working relationships with the faculty and staff, students, parents and community members. Working together, there is no limit to what we can achieve,” she said. “I look forward to meeting everyone and watching our students achieve academically as well as in athletics and extracurricular activities.”
She said she wants to prepare the “whole student” for the next steps in their life.
“Developing the whole child is my main focus, and I am excited to cheer these kids on both in the classroom and on the field,” Bishop said. “I’m extremely excited about unlocking the potential in each and every one of our students.”