Sutton named LBHS principal, Lock heads to superintendent post
By Andy Kanengiser
Recognized as an outstanding educator in Ocean Springs, Justin Sutton recently departed that Mississippi Gulf Coast post to become the new Long Beach High principal.
The Mississippian comes aboard effective July 1, and should do an excellent job in the Friendly City, school leaders say. Incoming Long Beach Superintendent Talia Lock and colleagues believe Sutton will be a tremendous asset at the high school.
“There is a foundation of excellence at Long Beach High School, and Mr. Sutton’s experience can help take us to the next level,’’ Lock said.
“He has proven to be an administrator that wants what is best for students. He is able to build positive relationships with students, parents and those that work with him,’’ Lock added. “I am very excited to work alongside Mr. Sutton.’’
Zac Cannon, the new director of Long Beach High bands, says he is thrilled to welcome Justin Sutton to the district.
“He is going to help our high school provide a quality and well-rounded education to our students,’’ Cannon said. “He is all about the students and their success.’’
Sutton succeeds Lock, whose accomplishments include overseeing the construction of a new Long Beach High. The 21st Century facility was erected after voters passed a bond issue a few years ago. Lock, like so many others, navigated difficult times and challenges amid the COVID-19 health crisis since March 2020.
Sutton earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Mississippi State University in 2003. He received a master of arts degree in teaching at Mississippi University for Women in 2008. In addition, Sutton earned a master’s in education leadership at MUW in Columbus in 2010.
He’s served as a Mississippi public school teacher and administrator for nearly nine years. Prior to serving as assistant principal, Sutton coordinated international education programs at Ocean Springs High. He’s worked as a history and English teacher at several schools. The list includes Biloxi High, Columbus High and Murrah High in Jackson.
Awards have come his way. He was named Columbus High Teacher of the Month in September 2009. He was selected the Ocean Springs School District Administrator of the Year in 2015.
Away from school activities, Sutton enjoys traveling across the U.S., and he’s passionate about athletics.
“I’m a sports fanatic and a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates and Penguins fan.’’
No doubt, the new principal will make a quick transition from cheering for the Ocean Springs Greyhounds to rooting for the Long Beach Bearcats.
This summer, Lock transitions from Long Beach High principal to superintendent. Her first day on the job is July 1. The recipient of a doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Southern Mississippi, Lock served the district as an eighth grade language arts teacher from 2005 through 2015. She moved up the ranks to become assistant principal at Long Beach Middle School. The Southern Miss grad began working as the Long Beach High principal in March 2018.
Goals for Dr. Lock include expanding opportunities for Long Beach students in Career and Technical Education. The district thrives as one of the best in the state, she said, because of solid support from the community, parents, faculty and staff.