Miss. Education-Policy Program Graduates 18 Fellows

EPFP graduates

May 9, 2018
Contact: Carl Smith

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Eighteen fellows representing a variety of statewide institutions graduated from the Mississippi Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) in an April 25 ceremony at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.

The Mississippi EPFP supports emerging leaders in education as they cultivate their knowledge of issues affecting the state and the policymaking tools and processes to help bolster instruction for all students. Additionally, the program provides a way to network like-minded peers as they work together in the future to better Mississippi.

“I loved getting to work with people involved in various education roles around the state. Not only has my knowledge increased around state-level policy and implementation but my network has greatly expanded,” said Stephanie Parkinson, regional designer for Teach for America–Mississippi.

The graduating class is part of a national cohort coordinated by the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C., and fellows represent K-12 schools, community colleges and universities across the state, as well as nonprofit agencies, including the Delta Health Alliance, Tallahatchie River Foundation and Teach for America.

Jeff Lefler, assistant professor of education, and Brad Skelton, curriculum manager at the Research and Curriculum Unit, represented MSU as fellows this year.

“My experience with the Mississippi EPFP has been an eye-opening one that has exposed me to legislative policy, advocacy work and the need to be an active participant in each step as a citizen educator,” said Skelton.

The fellows met from October to April to learn about statewide issues and policy, and traveled to Washington, D.C., in March to discuss educational policies with Mississippi’s congressional delegation. Specifically, the fellows met with staff from Sen. Thad Cochran’s office and received a private tour of the Capitol Building from Rep. Gregg Harper and his staff.

“Before you can sit at the table, you have to know what is being served. This program breaks down educational policy in an easy-to-follow format,” said Melanie Wells, assistant principal at StoneBridge Elementary School in Rankin County and Mississippi EPFP fellow.

This year’s graduates include Sharon Albert, principal, Benton County Schools; Meridith Bang, chief academic officer, Pass Christian School District; John Barnett, principal, Gulfport School District; RoSusan Bartee, professor, University of Mississippi; Stacy Baudoin, principal, Pearl River County School District; Elynda Finley, administrative assistant/librarian, Benton County Schools; Elizabeth Harris, engagement and communications director, Tallahatchie River Foundation; Caleb Herod, project manager for Extended Learning, Delta Health Alliance; Mary Katherine Honeycutt, fellow, Delta State University; Yolanda Houston, Hinds Community College–Utica Campus’ director of Teacher Education Preparation Program; Micca Knox, Mississippi Community College Board’s director of Early Childhood Academy; Susan McClelland, associate professor and chair, University of Mississippi; Cody Shumaker, principal, Cleveland School District; Kathi Wilson, principal, Kemper County School District; and Lefler, Parkinson, Skelton and Wells.

The Mississippi EPFP is co-sponsored by Mississippi State University’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government, Research and Curriculum Unit and Office of Research and Economic Development and is coordinated locally by Devon Brenner (ORED), Kristen Dechert (RCU) and Tyson Elbert (SIG).

For more information on the Mississippi EPFP, visit sig.msstate.edu/programs/epfp/ or email epfp@sig.msstate.edu.