LMSA Principal selected 4th Congressional Administrator of the Year finalist

dr kiana pendleton and dr toy watts

For her outstanding leadership and dedicated service, Laurel Magnet School of the Arts Principal Dr. Kiana Pendleton was selected as the Laurel School District’s Administrator of the Year and has now been selected by the Mississippi Department of Education as the finalist for the Fourth Congressional District. With the selection, Pendleton is now one of four administrators in the running for the title of Mississippi Administrator of the Year.

According to MDE, the Mississippi Administrator of the Year program honors an administrator who demonstrates superior ability to inspire teachers, employs exemplary leadership practices and participates as an active member of the community, and the recipient of the title will share expertise through various presentations, professional development, and activities for the improvement of education throughout Mississippi.

“Dr. Pendleton thinks outside of the box and does everything in grand fashion,” said Superintendent Dr. Toy L. Watts. “I’m grateful for her leadership and her ability to create a unique learning environment that is fun and engaging for students.”

Pendleton, along with the work of dedicated students, teachers, staff and parents, moved the school from a B to an A on the 2018-19 state testing results, achieving the highest rating the school has seen on the state’s accountability model in over a decade.

“I could not have received this honor without my teachers, staff, students, parents and my family,” Pendleton said. “I have an amazing team who is supportive, talented and as enthusiastic about teaching and learning as I am.” 

Pendleton began her career in education as an America Reads tutor in Jackson, Mississippi. Prior to coming to the Laurel School District in April 2018, she served as a teacher, interventionist and district reading specialist. She is in her second year as principal of Laurel Magnet School of the Arts.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tougaloo College, Master of Science in mass communications and a Doctorate of Philosophy in educational administration from Jackson State University.

“I love working in education, because I love being a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to educating the children in Mississippi,” Pendleton said. “Education is my passion and when you love what you do every day, you’re more likely to make a positive impact.”