Dr. Ray Morgigno
The search continues for a permanent state superintendent of education. Applications are being accepted between August 14 and October 19, 2023.
On Thursday, the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) announced Dr. Ray Morgigno as the next Interim State Superintendent of Education.
Dr. Morgigno has nearly 30 years of experience working in public education in Mississippi as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and district superintendent. He also served for more than 20 years as an officer in the Mississippi Army National Guard.
Morgigno will assume the interim position on July 1st.
“Dr. Morgigno is a lifelong educator and public servant who brings a wealth of experience in public education in Mississippi,” said Glen East SBE vice-chair. “The Board is confident he will continue the great strides Mississippi has made in public education over the past decade as we conduct the search for a permanent state superintendent.”
Dr. Morgigno’s term will succeed Mike Kent, who was appointed to serve as Interim State Superintendent of Education from April 3rd through June 30th. Kent was named to the position on March 30th, following the Mississippi Senate’s rejection of Dr. Robert Taylor’s nomination as Superintendent of Education. Senate confirmation is required for this position.
During the 2023 Mississippi legislative session, a PEER Staff Legislative Assistance Memo was released addressing concerns regarding the selection process for the state superintendent. The memo was prepared by the PEER Committee staff in response to a specific legislative request seeking information regarding the selection process for the state superintendent.
The PEER memo argues that the process by which Dr. Taylor was selected lacked transparency and provided specific instances that backed up their claim:
- McPherson & Jacobson proposed that finalists for the position be named publicly; however, the Board chose to keep the names confidential until the candidate had been selected and the voting was completed.
- The Board provided no detailed methodology for scoring and/or ranking applicants. Neither McPherson & Jacobson nor the Board provided documentation of a detailed scoring methodology to ensure objectivity in the comparison of applicants against each other. This methodology would be expected of such a critical selection process.
- Alabama and Louisiana conducted similar selection processes within the past five years, which were more transparent. The boards in LA and AL conducted their state superintendent searches using an open process that involved interested parties, particularly the public. Mississippi’s Board chose to use a closed process that had the potential to significantly impact the trust between the Board and its stakeholders.
This week, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) said the Board will continue working with McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, to lead the search process. MDE explained that the search firm will accept applications for a permanent state superintendent of education between August 14 and October 19, 2023.
“During the application period, the SBE will issue a survey to educators, lawmakers, business and community leaders and other members of the public to solicit their input about the qualities and priorities they desire for the next state superintendent of education,” MDE said. “The SBE anticipates selecting its final candidate before the end of 2023. The SBE voted on May 18 to allow an individual who is named interim state superintendent to be eligible to apply for the permanent position.”