Oak Park Principal Leander Bridges, II
Leander Bridges II began his career as a substitute teacher. He later transitioned to a teacher assistant and eventually became choral director at both Laurel Middle School and Laurel High School in 2006. During his tenure as choral director, Bridges consistently earned excellent and superior ratings at choral festivals and competitions. His choirs performed at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York, New York twice with many of his students earning choral scholarships across the United States. In 2012, Bridges transitioned into a dual role of choral director and administrative intern at Laurel High School. In 2014, Bridges again transitioned, stepping into the role of Assistant Principal at Laurel High School. Since 2014, Bridges has served in a variety of capacities: assistant principal at both the elementary and high school levels, alternative school director, interim principal, Director of Child Nutrition, and Title IX Coordinator. Bridges is pleased to currently serve as the principal at THEE Oak Park Elementary School.
Bridges received a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems with a minor in Music from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership from William Carey University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from William Carey University.
“I love everything about education! The entire process is intriguing to me as it mirrors the human growth and development process. We are blessed to receive students in their academic infancy and are charged with nurturing them into academically proficient adults. What an ominous yet rewarding calling!”
Rachel Virgess began her career in education as a 4th grade ELA/Social Studies teacher at Byhalia Elementary School in the Marshall County School District. Prior to joining the Laurel School District in August of 2008, she served as an 8th grade Reading teacher at also at Byhalia Middle School. Here in Laurel, she has held the following positions: 7th grade ELA/Social Studies Teacher, 8th grade ELA Teacher, Lead Teacher, and ELA Department Chairperson. She is currently the Assistant Principal at Oak Park Elementary School.
She received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Mississippi State University, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Mississippi, Educational Specialists in Reading Instruction from The University of Southern Mississippi, and Educational Specialists in Educational Leadership from William Carey University.
"I love having the opportunity to make a difference (no matter how small) in the lives of students. It is my goal to ensure that ALL students succeed and excel and that teachers are provided with the proper support to positively impact our future."