CCSD ribbon-cutting ceremony held for Patrick Campbell Administration Building, Lee Myles Sr. Transportation, Maintenance Facility

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By Josh Troy

Clarksdale Advocate

“There is power in the words that we speak.” Coahoma County School District Board President Rico Smith spoke those very words when discussing how the idea to construct a new administration building came about. It was part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Patrick Campbell Sr. Administration Building and Lee Myles Sr. Transportation and Maintenance Facility on Wednesday night.

Campbell, who died in 2019, served as the CCSD Board President for several years, while Myles Sr. was a district employee for more than 30 years and worked his way up to become the Director of Transportation.

Smith said shortly after he and Lester Myles, the brother of Lee Myles, were elected to the board, a conversation took place after a meeting on a Tuesday night several years ago. Smith, Lester Myles, board members Larry Haynes, William Kinard, and Campbell were having a conversation.

Campbell asked then-Superintendent Pauline Rhodes what was on her wish list? “She said a raise. He said, ‘What else is on your wish list?’” said Smith as the audience laughed. “She said, well, I would like to have a new administration building for the staff,” Smith continued. “That’s where it started.”

Years later, when Dr. Ilean Richards was the Superintendent, Smith said plans were in motion to build a new administration building, but it all started with a conversation after a school board meeting on a Tuesday night. “I guess what I’m trying to say is there’s power in the tongue,” Smith said. “There’s power in the words that we speak.”

Smith said the new administration and transportation buildings have modern bricks, but molding young minds through education and opening doors children did not know existed are the most important things. “These guys were very instrumental to the Coahoma County School District,” said Smith of Campbell and Lee Myles.

Smith is also the Jonestown Police Chief and served in the position while Campbell was the mayor. “Mr. Campbell was a giant when it came to advocacy for children and the Coahoma County School District,” Smith said. “Even while transitioning, his thoughts were concerning the district and its students.”

Lester Myles told the story that led to the transportation and maintenance facility being named after Lee Myles. “I do feel that these two guys are very deserving of this recognition,” Lester Myles said. “Mr. Campbell, he was a very dedicated person to this school. He would go all out of the way to make sure that the Coahoma County School District was taken care of.”

Lester Myles said he and Campbell were walking around campus and looked at the transportation and maintenance facility. “It was in very bad condition, so we decided that we needed to do something about this,” Lester Myles said. As a result, a new transportation and maintenance facility was constructed.

Lester Myles said Lee Myles deserved to have the facility named after him. “He was very well loved by all the transportation employees,” Lester Myles said. “He did an excellent job while he was in the position.” Lester Myles also had a strong relationship with Campbell. “Mr. Campbell, he was like a brother to me because of his love for the kids and for this district,” Lester Myles said. “After his passing, we decided that this new administration building should be named after him.”

Lee Myles thanked his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for making this day possible. “It is an honor and privilege that the district thought of me, little small me, to make this possible,” he said. “I just want to thank everybody for thinking of me. All I want to do is do my job for the kids. Because if you don’t love the kids, this job is not for you. It’s not all about the kids. That’s what my job was, to protect our babies, get them to school safe and back home safe. That was my job. I loved my job. I enjoyed it while I was here, but my season was over and it was time for me to step down and let someone else take over.”

Campbell’s widow, Tonya, also gave the glory to God. “We’re just so grateful that you thought enough of Patrick to honor him with his name on the building,” Tonya Campbell said. “He put in a lot of sleepless nights. I know because I was next to him.” Tonya Campbell said she heard all of the phone calls and other things Patrick did to benefit the CCSD. “He did it all in the name of love. He loved this district and he loved this county,” Tonya Campbell said. “I’m sure if he had the chance to do it all over again, he would. “I would often hear him on the phone and he’d say, ‘If we’re not going to be there for the children, then what’s the point? It’s not about me. It’s not about you.’ It’s not about whomever he was talking to. He said, ‘It’s about the children. We have to do what’s best for the children.’ And not everybody liked that, but you know, hey, that was what he was put in position to do and he fulfilled that duty.”

Tonya Campbell said Patrick attended CCSD board meetings by phone when he was in the hospital, noting Zoom and conference calls were not common back then. She added she was trying to get Patrick to look out for himself, but he told her he would continue to try to help the district until the day he dies. “Even on his sick bed, he was looking out for the well-being of the Coahoma County School District, and I thank you all so much for this honor,” Tonya Campbell said. Mozella Banks, the mother of Patrick Campbell, expressed similar sentiments. “He’s my baby, and I love and miss him,” Banks said. “He’s my baby, and I’m so proud of him.”

Current Superintendent Dr. Virginia Young did not know Campbell and took her position after Lee Myles retired. However, she understood the legacy both individuals left. “I know that they have had a very big impact on this district,” Young said. “I’ve heard many, many positive things about these men.” CCSD board member Gerald Watkins led the prayer during the ceremony.

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