MDE News

Mississippi Board of Education appoints new chairman

by Jul 24, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Board of Education today appointed Dr. John R. Kelly to serve as Board chairman for a two-year term.

Kelly, who since 2007 has served as Gulfport’s chief administrative officer, previously served as the Board’s vice-chair. Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Kelly to the Board of Education in 2011. 

“It’s been an awesome opportunity to serve on the Board for the past three years,” Kelly said. “I have come to appreciate all of the processes involved and I feel ready to go as chair. I will continue to wake up every day and work as hard as I possibly can for the children of Mississippi.”

A Utica native, Kelly previously served as Gulfport’s municipal court administrator and has worked as regional director for community and family support with Navy Region Southeast in Jacksonville, Fla. He has held several positions at the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service at Mississippi State University and was an adjunct professor for 24 years at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus. At USM, he taught courses in sociology, social psychology and adult education.

Kelly has served as chairman of the National Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society and was president and chief volunteer officer for the United Way of South Mississippi. He also has served as president of the Gulfport Job Corps Center and chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Gulf Coast Medical Center.

Kelly received a bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University, a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi.

The Board named as its vice-chair Richard Morrison, who is assistant superintendent of the Rankin County School District. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Morrison to the Board in 2012.

“This is a responsibility I feel is so important to move our state forward,” Morrison said. “There are a lot of great things going on in Mississippi. We need to celebrate them and keep moving education forward.”

Morrison began his career as a math teacher and coach at Forest Hill High School and Quitman High School. He has been an administrator in Rankin County for 18 years, including serving as principal of Northwest Rankin High School before being appointed district assistant superintendent.

Morrison’s recognitions include Rankin County Administrator of the Year, Mississippi Principal of the Year, Administrator of the Year for Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District, Mississippi Administrator of the Year and Mississippi Thespian Principal of the Year. He has been a member of both the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Mississippi Association of Secondary School Principals.

Morrison is a graduate of Delta State University and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Mississippi College.

Outgoing Board Chairman Dr. Wayne Gann will continue to serve on the Board as a member through July 2015.

“I’m a lifelong educator and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chair,” Gann said.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright thanked Gann for his service and welcomed the new leaders.

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