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Help Wanted: Mississippi seeks State...

Help Wanted: Mississippi seeks State Superintendent of Education

By: Frank Corder - July 31, 2023

Mississippi State Board of Education

After the Mississippi Senate chose not to confirm the State Board of Education’s pick to be the State Superintendent earlier this year, applications are being accepted starting August 14 in hopes of securing an individual that can gain lawmakers’ approval.

The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) has been looking for a permanent State Superintendent of Education since Dr. Carey Wright retired in June 2022.

Members of the SBE thought they had found Wright’s replacement in Dr. Robert Taylor when he was hired unanimously by the Board in November 2022, after a six-month nationwide search. He began serving in that role in January 2023.

However, at the end of March 2023, the Mississippi Senate voted not to confirm Taylor by a 21-31 vote. Much of the expressed opposition to Taylor’s confirmation as State Superintendent centered around the process the SBE used in making its hiring decision. A PEER Committee report issued ahead of Taylor’s confirmation hearing stated that the SBE’s selection process lacked transparency.

READ MORE: Senate rejects Dr. Robert Taylor as State Superintendent of Education

In the wake of Taylor’s failed confirmation, SBE named Mike Kent as temporary Interim State Superintendent to serve from April 3 through June 30, 2023. SBE then named Dr. Ray Morgigno to follow Kent as Interim State Superintendent as of July 1.

The SBE also voted in May of this year to allow an individual who is named interim state superintendent to be eligible to apply for the permanent position, seemingly a nod to Morgigno should he apply for the permanent position.

On Monday, SBE announced the new timeline and process for the search for a permanent State Superintendent of Education.

The application period opens August 14 and runs through October 19. SBE will be collecting responses to a public survey focused on desired qualities and priorities in the next state superintendent from September 5 through September 22. Prospective candidate interviews and a selection is anticipated to be held by SBE in December.

According to a release from SBE, the Board is once again working with the firm McPherson & Jacobson, LLC to lead the search process. The same firm was hired by SBE in June 2022 to recruit and evaluate applicants, which led to Taylor’s hiring.

According to the Board, 26 individuals from 15 states applied for the position in 2022. Nine were employed in Mississippi at the time of their application last year.

Applicants for Mississippi’s State Superintendent of Education may apply online at the firm’s website. The selected candidate will be required to gain confirmation in the Mississippi Senate during the 2024 legislative session to complete the appointment process.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: