Dr. Rob Picou, a native of New Orleans, has been an educator for the last 34 years serving as an English teacher, a principal and most recently as a superintendent.
Prior to his appointment in Tupelo, he spent 20 years in public schools in the state of Alaska.
Picou, now in his sixth year leading the Tupelo district, received his Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Arts in Political Philosophy from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English from University of New Orleans.
He also served in the United States Marine Corps.
He previously served as the Superintendent of the Lower Yukon School District serving 10 K-12 schools, where he created APEX learning cyber spaces, resulting in an increased number of students taking advanced online courses. His leadership experience also includes:
•Superintendent for 3 years of the Bering Strait School District, where he secured $7.6 million in federal grants focused on dropout prevention, student achievement and staff development. He led the district to increase its graduation rate from 46 percent to 73 percent with an emphasis on personalized learning and multiple pathways to graduation.
•Executive Director of Instruction for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District, the 2nd largest urban district in Alaska with a student population of 19,600, 47 schools and a budget of $247 million. His focus there was on school climate and connectedness with a program called ‘Capturing Kids’ Hearts’, which resulted in an increase of the graduation rate from 71% to 93% over a three-year period in one of their largest comprehensive high schools. As a result of state and federal legislative funding efforts and a partnership with the University of Alaska, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District designed the first Middle College, allowing college-ready high school students to work toward an AA degree with 32 college credits before graduating from high school.
Picou’s extensive experience includes leading educators, parents and business communities through complex change initiatives to achieve superior results in multiple districts serving students with a broad spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds.
His impact in Tupelo has been strongly felt, too.
Since his arrival, TPSD has earned an A-rating status by MDE for the first time, received District of Innovation honors, developed a highly-successful Middle College now in its fifth year with Itawamba Community College and partnered with Project Lead The Way to enhance stem and robotics in grades 3-6. The Middle College graduated its first cohort of students in May of 2021 with participating THS seniors earning both a high school and associate's degree.
The district is now in its fifth year with Project Search, a national program that assists special education students in their last year of high school to do internships with the hospital, preparing them for the job market once they graduate.
In 2022, Tupelo High School graduated 90 percent of its students, the highest in school history.
This year, THS introduced Career Pathways to assist students in finding job interests beyond high school and college. In 2021, he began the initiative to successfully reinstate the JROTC program, and in August of 2022, the first cohort or cadets began their journey. After having 58 cadets the first year, the program is now comprised of 88 in year two.
He and his wife, Jodi, also an educator, have two sons — Will, a freshman at LSU, and Cole, a sophomore at THS.
Dr. Rob Picou, Superintendent