CANTON - Rebuilding and rebranding the Canton School District is what new Superintendent Ike Haynes plans to do, he told the Madison County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Haynes has been on a cross-county tour meeting with local business and government leaders to share his plans for the district and he has set the bar high.

"One of the things that attracted me to this job...I did see the county schools were steadily ascending and climbing," he said. "[The Canton School District] is kind of stuck in a little bit of a quagmire, in mediocrity."

He added, "That challenge brought me here. I expressly commit myself and say that I know what a vibrant school district in Canton could mean to economic development in this county."

Haynes told supervisors that the current "D" status for the school underscores the need for change and improvement and there is no reason why they can't be as competitive as the Madison County School District, which has an "A" status.

"I didn't come here to carry [Madison County School District Superintendent Dr. Ronnie McGehee's] lunch every day," he said. "I came here to compete with Madison. You can write that down and see where we are in 3-4 years."

Haynes said he wanted to change the perception of the school district, in part after driving around and noticing subdivision signs saying homes were in the Madison County School District.

"I saw some of those signs," he said. "If you want to buy a house you're not buying in the Canton school zone. That was pretty much an indication people are not knocking down doors to move into the Canton area."

Board of Supervisors President Karl Banks said he was glad Haynes took that ride because the perception couldn't be more true.

"Until we have a school system in Canton everybody can be proud of those signs are gonna always be coming up in subdivisions," he said. "I hope to see it change. You sound like you may be the man for the task."

Haynes said it goes deeper than perception though and that it's the role of parents to get involved and demand a better education for their children.

"Canton High School currently has an F status," he said. "I need to see high-reman parents. It's all about, first, attitudes. What kind of attitudes are we gonna have? What kind of expectations are we gonna have?"

District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin said the board has always had a good relationship with the CSD and Haynes shouldn't hesitate to contact them if he needs anything.

"We will continue to be a friend of Canton public schools," he said. "Feel free to call any of us, our department heads. They're charged to help any government agent that needs assistance."