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Departmental records indicate that over the last ten years, 922 beginning teachers have been licensed by the State of Mississippi. These MC alumni have positively impacted Mississippi Public Schools. Dr. Tom Burnham, the former State Superintendent of Education, himself an MC alumnus and the department's 1992 Distinguished Alumnus, has observed that today's teacher education graduates are "the best ever." The reputation of the teacher education program does indeed rest in the outstanding performance of the thousands of unnamed alumni that have received undergraduate and graduate degrees and have served children and families with distinction.

Distinguished Alumni

In 1990 the School of Education began recognizing a distinguished alumnus. Each outstanding educator recognized received some or all of his/her training through the teacher education department.

Dr. Gerald Hasselman

Gerald Hasselman has dedicated his life's work to education. He began his career in Warren County where he served as teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal. After he continued and completed his own education, he worked in various capacities including Director of School Improvement and Associate State Superintendent for Academic Programs for the Mississippi Department of Education. Dr. Hasselman spent 27 years working with Mississippi's public schools and 21 years working at the college level in educator preparation programs. He has presented at numerous national conferences and was nationally recognized for his work with Tech Prep and Assessment in our state. Patricia, his lovely wife, and he have been married for many years and are proud parents and grandparents.

Mr. Arthur “Buddy” Bailey (2018) 

For nearly 40 years, Buddy Bailey has built his career around educating tomorrow’s leaders. The education landscape has changed dramatically since he began his career, but with each change Bailey has adapted and grown as an educator. He has served students from 1st grade through 12th grade and has spent time at the community college level. Twenty-eight years ago, he began his career as an administrator, and currently he serves as the assistant superintendent over middle and high schools for the Rankin County School District. He has won numerous awards, including 2014-2015 Rankin County School District Principal of the Year. Governor Phil Bryant nominated Bailey to serve on the Mississippi State Board of Education. Bailey and his wife, Patrice, have two daughters, Morgan and Kayla.

Mr. Michael Joseph Coco  (2012)

 Michael Coco is an instructor in the Mississippi College Department of Teacher Education and Leadership.  Coco joined the MC faculty following 38 years of service in public education.  He dedicated the previous 24 years to service with the Jackson Public School District, working as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and principal.  Prior to joining Mississippi College, he served as principal of Oak Forest Elementary School.  A native of Yazoo City, Coco received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Mississippi College. 

Mr. Timothy L. Martin    (2011)

Tim Martin was working as a youth minister when he began substitute teaching in the Jackson Public School District.  His newly discovered passion for teaching prompted him to pursue a degree in elementary education from MC.  Martin made the switch from full-time church ministry to education and has since considered working with parents and students as his ministry.  Today, Martin is the assistant superintendent for the Clinton Public School District.  His previous experience includes serving as a public school principal, assistant principal, and teacher.  In addition to his bachelor's degree, Martin holds a master's degree in educational leadership from Mississippi College and an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from Delta State University.  He also serves as an adjunct professor in the MC educational specialist degree program.

Dr. Dewey D. Blackledge, Jr.   (2010)

Dr. Dewey Blackledge’s career in education spans 45 years, including 33 years in K-12 schools and 12 years in higher education at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).  He is currently an educational consultant with the North Carolina-based Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning.  Over his long career, Dr. Blackledge has served as teacher, coach, principal, adult education coordinator, and project grants director.  Career highlights include designing and supervising construction of the $1.4 million Laurel Watkins Vocational Center; establishing a year-round literacy program for welfare recipients; organizing the first statewide education conference pertaining to at-risk youth; and establishing the South Central Mississippi Consortium for Educational Excellence and Development, which has provided services for more than 21,500 educators in Mississippi.

Dr. Robert "Bob" Fortenberry (2009)

Teacher, Coach, Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent. 
Dr. Robert “Bob” Fortenberry has received numerous awards throughout his illustrious career. He has been honored with the Medgar Evers Award, the Honor Medal for Individual Achievement, Administration of the Year for Mississippi, and the Service to Humanity Award from Mississippi College. He has been a proponent of the Effective Schools Movement for over 25 years and still serves as an educational consultant throughout the United States. His creative work in the Jackson Public Schools for 17 years led to the development of many landmark programs that served the children of the largest school district in Mississippi. Dr. Fortenberry continues to be a strong supporter of public education and his “All Children Can Learn” philosophy is still a driving force in his current work as advisor and consultant to numerous school districts.

Mr. Mike Jones (2008)

Athletic Director and Men Basketball Head Coach, Mississippi College. Coach at Copiah-Lincoln Junior College and the University of Southern Mississippi. Helped to raise over $130,000 each of the last three years for the athletic department. Led the Mississippi College Athletic Department in raising over $1 million dollars for the addition of an artificial playing surface to the football field, a new soccer facility, renovations to the Golden Dome, a new basketball playing surface, and a new track facility.

Mrs. Peggy Carlisle (2007)

National Board Certified Teacher, Presenter, Coordinator, and Trainer. 1999: Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. 2002: All-USA Today Teacher First Team; Shell National Science Teacher of the Year; and Fulbright Memorial Scholar. 2005: Inductee, Mississippi Hall of Master Teachers; ING “Unsung Hero” National First Place Grant Recipient - $27,000 to fund “The Kenya Project”; and Butler-Cooley Excellence in Education Award. 2006: Inductee - National Teachers Hall of Fame; and MSTA Distinguished Science Teacher Award. 2007: Council for Elementary Science International CIBA Exemplary Elementary Science Teaching Award; NSTA Sylvia Shugrue Elementary Science Teaching Award; Wal-Mart National Teacher of the Year Award.

Dr. Ralph Brewer (2006)

Teacher, Counselor, Curriculum Assistant, State Supervisor of Guidance, and Director of the Division of Instruction for Mississippi Department of Education. Member and Past President of Metro Civitan Club; President of Rankin Civitan Club; and Distinguished Governor of Civitan District. Served on the City of Jackson Planning and Zoning board; City of Brandon Planning and Architectural Commission; and Retired Educational Personnel of Mississippi. President-elect of the Mississippi Retired Public Employees Association (2006-07).

Ms. Cindy Gipson (2005)

Teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal. Sheriff’s Department Service Award (1994); 2000-01 Hinds County Administrator of the Year; 2002-03 National Distinguished Principal of Mississippi; Highlighted Presenter of Writing Instruction, MDE Mega Conference (2005); Principal of Level 5, Superior Performing Schools (2003-2005).

Dr. Milton Baxter (2004)

Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Administrator, Professor, and Department Chair. Training Aide and Advisor, Education and Manpower; Assistant Commissioner of Higher Education for Research and Planning, Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning; Executive Director/Secretary; Mississippi Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Mr. Mike Kent (2003)

Teacher, Coach, Principal, and Superintendent. Five-time Coach of the Year; Executive Board Member, Mississippi High School Activities Association; Board Member, Holmes Community College; Advanced Leadership Designation, Mississippi Department of Education.

Dr. Capucine Torrey-Robinson (2002)

Teacher, Principal, National Presenter, and Coordinator of State and Federal Programs. Past President of the Mississippi Early Childhood Association; Board of Directors, Barksdale Reading Institute; Outstanding Educator, Parent for Public Schools; Participant, Educational Policy and Fellowship Program, Mississippi State University.

Dr. Don W. Locke (2001)

Teacher, Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Professor, Department Chair, Associate Dean and Dean. Former Degree Endowed Professor of Education, University of Louisiana, Monroe. Past President of the International Association for Marriage and Family Counselors; Student Personnel Association for Teacher Education; and Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. Dean of the School of Education, Mississippi College.

Mrs. Lou Way Perritt (2000)

Teacher, Presenter, and Coordinator. 1992 National Drug-Free School Coordinator. 1993 Publisher of STARGUIDES, A Character Education Curriculum.

Dr. Larry A. Drawdy (2000)

Teacher, Counselor, Assistant Dean, Administrative Assistant, Principal, Research Assistant, Assistant Superintendent, and Publisher for Phi Delta Kappan. 1993 Superintendent of the Year for the State of Mississippi. Superintendent of Biloxi Public School District.

Dr. William Allen Lewis (1999)

Teacher, Principal, Superintendent, University of Southern Mississippi Staff Council, and Chair. Former Executive Director of Public Education Forum. President of Pearl River Community College, Poplarville.

Mrs. Senita Walker (1998)

Teacher, Librarian, and 1996 Milken Foundation National Educator Award. 1995 - First Elementary Teacher in Mississippi to receive National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards.

Mrs. Jimmie S. Mullins (1997)

Teacher, Principal, Coordinator, and Director. Assistant Superintendent of Vicksburg-Warren School District.

Dr. Dewey Herring (1996)

Teacher, Coach, Counselor, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent. Superintendent of Ocean Springs Public School District. 1995 Superintendent of the Year for the State of Mississippi.

Mrs. Jackie Dear Stevens (1995)

Fifth Grade Teacher. 1993 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics. 1994 Milken Foundation National Educator Award.

Dr. Ennis Proctor (1994)

Teacher, Coach, and Principal. Executive Director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

Dr. Tom Burnham (1992)

Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, ETV Specialist, and Assistant Dean. State Superintendent of Education.

Mr. Johnny Franklin (1991)

Teacher, Coach, Principal, and Superintendent. First Director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. Director of Instructional Development for the Mississippi Department of Education.

Dr. Milton Walker (1990)

Teacher, Coach, Principal, and Superintendent. Past President of the Mississippi Association of School Administrators. Executive Director of the Public Employees Retirement System.