top of page

Politics of Public Education in Mississippi

MERC Leadership Academy

Jackson, Mississippi

At the Intersection of Past and Present Segments 1 & 2

A primer on the history of the performance of public education in Mississippi and the nation, related legislation, state and local funding of public education, and the roles of MDE and local school boards and citizens


Overview: The Politics of Public Education 
Initiative 42 and the Future
Why Fair Funding Matters!

Session I:  At the Intersection of Past and Present  1 & 2

A Panel Discussion: Governor William Winter, Mr. Lloyd Gray and Dr. Andy Mullins

William Forrest Winter, served as the 57th Governor of Mississippi from 1980 to 1984 as a Democrat. He is known for his strong support of public education, freedom of information, racial reconciliation, and historic preservation. Winter is best remembered for the passage of the Mississippi Education Reform Act. The law was the first serious attempt at improving state education in over 20 years and established public kindergartens. The Winter administration also successfully rewrote the state public utilities law when the legislature passed the Public Utilities Reform Act

Former Governor William Winter

Dr. Andy Mullins

Mr. Lloyd Gray

Dr. Andy Mullins is a counselor to many Mississippi leaders and a trailblazer in educational reform. He taught high school for eight years, was special assistant to two governors and three state superintendents of education, and as a member of Gov. William Winter’s staff, was one of the “Boys of Spring,” the Winter team that helped engineer the landmark Education Reform Act of 1982. He also created and directed the Mississippi Teacher Corps and the Principal Corps.  He had helped train and place more than 500 teachers in school districts across the Delta and in north Mississippi through the Teacher Corps. He spent nearly two decades at the University of Mississippi and a career dedicated to improving K-12 and higher education. Since joining the Ole Miss administration in 1994, Mullins has worked with three chancellors during a period of significant enrollment growth, dramatic changes in the funding of higher education, and the university’s biggest public event ever, the 2008 presidential debate.                                          

Lloyd Gray is the newly appointed Executive Director of the Phil Hardin Foundation in his hometown of Meridian. A graduate of Millsaps College he has worked for the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, The Sun Herald in Biloxi/Gulfport and as a Mississippi assistant secretary of state before returning to his hometown in 1990 as editor of The Meridian Star. He went to Tupelo two years later to work as Editor of Daily Journal where he served diligently for 23 years. Gray and his wife Sally have three grown children.


Session II: Why Fair Funding Matters

David Sciarra, Education Law Center


David Sciarra oversees and directs ELC programs and activities. A practicing civil rights lawyer since 1978, he has litigated a wide range of cases involving socioeconomic rights, including affordable housing, shelter for the homeless, and welfare rights. Read More


Since 1996, David has litigated to enforce access for low-income and minority children to an equal and adequate education under state and federal law and has served as counsel to the plaintiff students in New Jersey’s landmark Abbott v. Burke case. He also conducts research, writes, and lectures on education law and policy in such areas as school finance, early education and school reform. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated magna cum laude in 1978 from Temple University School of Law.

Attorney David Sciarra


​I.Politics and Policy - Initiative 42 and the Future

Presenters:  Attorney Luther Munford, Butler Snow and Forest Thigpen, Mississippi Center for Public Policy


II.Effectively Communicating Education Issues

Presenters: Scott Simmons, WAPT; Sandi Beason, Clinton Public Schools, Patrice Guilfoyle, MDE; Kate Royals, The Clarion-Ledger


III. Reform, Advocacy and Change

Presenter: Moriba Karamoko

bottom of page