By WLOX Staff
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - In Wednesday news conference, the Board of Trustees for the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) announced their unanimous decision to name Dr. Hank Bounds, current State Superintendent of Education, the next Commissioner of Higher Education. Dr. Bounds will assume the commissioner position near the end of July.
The announcement was made following open interviews with various constituency groups, during which participants had the opportunity to evaluate Dr. Bounds.
"This is a great day for the state of Mississippi," said Mr. Ed Blakeslee, chair of the Commissioner Board Search Committee. "Dr. Bounds brings the experience, passion, and vision to move the university system forward and to forge a collaborative relationship between the secondary and postsecondary education systems in the state."
"I am honored that the Board of Trustees have entrusted me to lead the state's university system," Dr. Bounds said. "Mississippi's eight universities have an excellent track record in preparing our students for the workforce and making contributions to premier industries around the world. We all know that in these tough economic times, a more educated citizenry should be of the highest priority. As commissioner, I will continue to focus on building a more seamless and accessible system from pre-Kindergarten through advanced degrees. I enthusiastically accept this responsibility and look forward to working with the College Board and our outstanding university presidents."
As the State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Bounds has changed the landscape of education in the Mississippi. He has garnered statewide support to decrease the state's dropout rate, implemented a new, more rigorous curriculum and assessment program, and guided the creation of a new school performance classification system. He has also launched a plan for redesigning education to better prepare students for today's workplace.
Dr. Bounds secured a $17 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and developed partnerships with numerous foundations and corporations both within and beyond Mississippi. He has also worked with the state's elected leaders to pass legislation crucial to the improvement of schools.
Before becoming the chief executive officer of Mississippi K-12 Public Education, Dr. Bounds served as superintendent of the Pascagoula School District. He was principal in two high schools and one K-12 school.
He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Mississippi.