BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Thousands of Mississippi teachers heard from their boss in Biloxi on Wednesday. That's where State School Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright spoke at an education conference. She encouraged the teachers to be leaders and also had some strong words about a certain campaign message.
Wright told the group her heart brought her to Mississippi from Washington D.C., last fall. She had never been to Mississippi before.
"I love this work, and trust me on this. We're not going to stay at the bottom. I don't like being last. I've never liked being last," said Wright.
The 36 year veteran of education challenged these teachers to pursue leadership opportunities.
"You as leaders make a difference. You have the ability to make a positive impact each and every day you go in," said Wright. "Credibility is the foundation of leadership. People have to believe in you. Your students have to believe in you. Your parents have to believe in you."
Without mentioning any names, Wright had some strong words for a Senate candidate who has questioned the federal government's role in education, including federal funding, of which Mississippi receives $800 million per year.
"$800 million, that's 24 percent of the state's education budget. Yet, when I read comments by folks that are running for office that talk about I want to eliminate the U.S. Department of Ed and eliminate the $800 million to Mississippi, that alarms me," Wright said.
Wright emphasized, it's not about politics.
"I am not here telling you how to vote. I am not. This is not a political issue for me. This is not a political issue. For me, this is a battle for the future of public education in this state, and that's the point I'm taking," Wright told the crowd.
The Making Connections Conference continues through Friday. On Thursday, the teachers will hear from Ron Clark, the man who's been called "America's Educator." Clark has been named teacher of the year numerous times and is also a New York Times best-selling author.