PMP401: Inspiring and Developing Others with Northwest Rankin High School Admin Team

In this week’s episode, I talk to Lewis Bradford and three of his administrative team members, Jessica Hodges, Benny Bullock, and David Jones at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, Mississippi. On October 23, 2023, I was privileged to visit Northwest Rankin High School. Afterward, I invited Lewis to record a podcast episode together, and Lewis included Jessica, Benny, and David. 

Lewis Bradford started his career at Northwest Rankin High School in 2006, teaching science to 9th-12th graders. In 2014, he became Assistant Principal at Pelahatchie High and returned to NWRHS in 2019 as Assistant Principal. By 2022, he was the Lead Principal at NWRHS. He was MASSP Assistant Principal of the Year for 2021/2022 and three times named Administrator of the Month in Rankin County School District. Recently, he was named the 2023 Secondary Administrator of the Year in Rankin County. An accomplished presenter, Mr. Bradford spoke at various educational conferences, including the 2023 NASSP in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Bradford is married to Alyssa Doner, an Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. They have two daughters, Lilly Claire, 9, and Madilyn, 6.

The 2023-24 Northwest Rankin High School Administrative Team also includes five assistant principals:

Will and the Northwest Rankin High School Administrative Team. Left to right, the picture includes Jessica Hodges, Dr. Terrance McEwan, Angela Reynolds, Benny Bullock, Will Parker, Lewis Bradford, and David Jones.

In this episode, we discuss the strategies and methods Northwest Rankin High School has implemented to simplify processes and build capacity in their staff, which have contributed to the remarkable growth in their accountability scores. As Lewis explains, “Two years ago, we met with our staff and had crucial conversations about student data. We analyzed what is the role each of us plays in student outcomes.”

Student Support and Literacy:

In terms of student support and literacy, his team also discusses the non-negotiables they believe have had the most significant impact on their school’s improved performance. As Jessica Hodges describes, “From shared planning periods to professional learning communities, we believe every staff member must be a team player.”

They also share ways they have been able to enhance student support, including a compelling story of one student from their school. Benny Bullock says, “Our teachers are committed to ongoing student learning, which means we provide opportunities for re-teaching, re-doing, and re-testing. Cooper Johnson, one of our former students, is a good example of a student we intentionally built a strong relationship. His success as a graduate of the high school is a testament to how we strive to reach every student.”

Staying Connected As a Team:

Finally, they discuss how their team stays connected and unified even with such a large student population of 1,800+ students. As David Jones illustrates, “Joining a team this big requires a commitment to conversation. It also means being willing to question one another and to reach consensus.”

Lewis also adds, “Leaders need a 360-degree perspective on decision-making. We make the best decisions with the information we know, but we are also willing to talk it out – like sisters and brothers – and be real with one another while demonstrating unity school-wide.”

Jessica also gives a shout-out to Angela Reynolds, one of their assistant principals, who has been instrumental in increasing engagement with their business community. Just as college or military recruiters seek access to our students, they are inviting businesses and employers to do the same.

Now it’s Your Turn:

Listen to the entire episode for even more great takeaways, or reach out to this week’s guests at their email addresses or visit





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William D. Parker
William D. Parker