Skip to content
Former Mississippi First Lady Deborah...

Former Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant receives Winter-Reed Partnership Award

By: Sarah Ulmer - February 17, 2022

The prestigious award goes to Bryant who is known for her work in promoting Mississippi’s education. 

The Mississippi Association of Partners in Education (MAPE) has awarded former First Lady of Mississippi Deborah Bryant with the 2021 Winter-Reed Partnership Award. The event to honor Bryant was held virtually on February 16, 2022.

The event featured Walt Grayson in conversation with Bryant. She discussed her impact on education as well as anecdotes from her visits to all of Mississippi’s 82 counties as part of her “Read Across Mississippi Tour” while her husband, Phil Bryant, was Governor.

“I hugged every child I read to, and in some cases hugged every child in an entire school; one, in particular, had over 400 students. I wanted every child to know they were precious and mattered,” Bryant said.

The Winter-Reed Partnership Award is a special honor presented to Mississippians who are devoted to improving public education. Launched by MAPE in 2007, the award is designed to honor the unique bipartisan partnership forged by Governor William Winter and the late Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Sr.

Since the inaugural presentation, the Winter-Reed Award has been presented annually to recognize Mississippians who have helped improve and promote public education in the state. Both Winter and Reed have a strong background in promoting and improving public education in Mississippi, the South, and nationwide.

David Schommer is with Jackson Public Schools and is the current President of MAPE. In his words, “Deborah Bryant has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all Mississippians. For her efforts to promote literacy and bring attention to reading disabilities, Deborah Bryant is definitely worthy of this recognition as she sets an example for others to follow. She understands the importance of reaching out to make a positive impact on our state and puts her words into action.”

Partnerships are a monumental part of this award and MAPE as a whole and this award would not be possible without the help of our sponsors: Partners in Education Sponsors BankPlus and Entergy; Supporting Education Sponsors Atmos Energy,  Mississippi Power Company, Phil Bryant; Community Education Sponsors Community Bank, The Phil Hardin Foundation, and Barksdale Management Corp.; Friend of Education Sponsors AMR, Beau Rivage, Mississippi State University, Ross Yerger, and Woodward Hines Education Foundation.

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: