Mississippi College

MC School of Education Produces Extraordinary Leaders

June 19, 2013

Mississippi College graduate students belted out Neil Diamond’s classic “I’m A Believer,” as they entertained members of the university family.

Written by Diamond and first recorded by the Monkees in 1966, the hit tune was certainly appropriate at the summer educational leadership luncheon. The MC students showed Tuesday they are certainly big believers in the university’s superb program in the School of Education.

Mississippi College’s educational leadership classes come equipped with “a sense of family and true servant leadership,” says graduate student Shelethia Manning Bolton, a teacher at Canton High.

A Clinton resident, graduate student Trever Forbes says the program gave him the tools to step into a new job in the August as an assistant principal at Byram Middle School.

“It got me ready for the next step,” says Forbes, 30, a North Carolina native who spent more than a decade as a classroom teacher. Students don’t just sit in class at Lowery Hall and listen to lectures. They visit school districts in the region, attend budget hearings, learn from guest speakers and share stories of academic achievements and failures. “People propel us to our potential,” he said.

Part of the all-star roster of School of Education professors enhancing the credentials of scores of graduate students is Doris Smith.

Smith retired as a professor in May after years of dedicated service with the Christian university’s educational leadership program. Members of the audience at Anderson Hall, including President Lee Royce, gave a standing ovation to the former Winona public schools superintendent.

Students say it is professors like Doris Smith, Gerald Hasselman, Tommye Henderson, and Ruthie Stevenson, who make the program so valuable as they train future leaders.

“Its reputation is what brought me here,” said MC graduate student Emily Oswalt, a curriculum coordinator at First Presbyterian Day School in Jackson. “It produces some of the best educational leadership in the history of the state.”

“I heard through colleagues who told me how great Dr. Smith was,” says James Peters, a teacher at Woolfolk Middle School in Yazoo City. He’s learning lessons at Mississippi College that will equip him to become a principal in a few years.

With Smith departing, professor Britt Dickens, a former superintendent with the Philadelphia public schools, an ex-administrator at Oxford High and longtime Mississippi teacher, will succeed her.

As the program’s keynote speaker, Dr. Royce thanked the graduate students and educators for engaging in “an ancient and venerable profession that is one of the most respected. Great teaching leads to great learning.”

Area education leaders, including Clinton Public Schools Superintendent Phil Burchfield and lawmakers such as state Sen. Hillman Frazier of Jackson, attended the luncheon at Mississippi College.

Photo: MC educational leadership program graduate students and professors at Tuesday's summer luncheon.

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