Lori Wilcher tapped to lead UES


A familiar face to Union Elementary students, teachers, and parents has been named the new principal at the top-performing school. Lori Wilcher was hired during a regular board meeting on Monday, April 9. She replaces Deanna Rush, who is returning to Union High School as it’s guidance counselor.

Wilcher worked previously in the Union Public School District as guidance counselor at Union Elementary and Union Middle. Additionally, she served as the district behavior specialist during that time. Since then, she has served in assistant principal roles in the Scott County School District and the Philadelphia Public School District. Both schools in which she has held administrative positions have seen remarkable growth in student achievement. Her supervisors have consistently praised Wilcher for her role in the improvement that took place in both settings.

Wilcher holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations from Mississippi College, a master’s degree in counselor education from Mississippi State University, and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. Additionally, Wilcher is a National Certified Counselor and National Board certified as a National Certified School Counselor.

Tyler Hansford, incoming UPSD superintendent, said of Wilcher’s hiring: “The number one attribute we were looking for in the next principal at UES was someone who would champion personal and academic growth for students. Without a doubt, Dr. Wilcher is a champion for children. She has demonstrated that time and time again. I know she’ll love these children as she loves her own.” Hansford went on to say: “Additionally, Dr. Wilcher is well acquainted with the outstanding faculty we have at UES. She understands the expectation of excellence we all have for each of our schools in this district. I believe the transition in leadership from Mrs. Rush to Dr. Wilcher will be seamless and that’s a lot of what we were looking for. We are very proud of the excellent school that UES is, and it was imperative to hire a principal that we knew could maintain that culture of love, belonging, and growth that makes this school such a special place.”

Wilcher’s thoughts really echoed those of Hansford. She said: “I am excited about working with an amazing group of teachers and support staff. I have personally witnessed the way these teachers love their students and their school and sacrifice time and money to serve the children of Union Elementary. They view every child as their own and are committed to meeting their needs on every level to ensure success in and out of school. The love and passion that UES teachers have for the children of UES mixed with the sacrificial work ethic is the true magic of UES.”

Wilcher and Hansford both assert that the high expectations for students, parents, teachers, and community will continue in the coming months and years at Union Elementary and across the district.

Lori resides in Union with her husband, Jimmy. They have had two children already graduate from Union. Their daughter, Alex, is in school at UMMC majoring in Radiologic Science. Their son, Bo, is serving in the Mississippi Air National Guard. Another son, Grant, will be a senior in the upcoming year. Ashton, a son, is currently in kindergarten, and the two youngest children, Ella and London are 3. Jimmy is a retired major from the Army National Guard. He also had a life-long career in manufacturing.

Wilcher will take over as principal of Union Elementary School on July 1.