GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport's chief administrative officer has been appointed to serve as board chairman for the Mississippi Board of Education. That information was announced Tuesday in a news release by the city of Gulfport.
Dr. John R. Kelly previously served as the Board's vice-chair. Governor Haley Barbour appointed Kelly to the Board of Education in 2011.
"It's been an awesome opportunity to serve on the Board for the past three years," Kelly said. "I have come to appreciate all of the processes involved and I feel ready to go as chair. I will continue to wake up every day and work as hard as I possibly can for the children of Mississippi."
Dr. Kelly has spent the last seven years as Gulfport's CAO.
Kelly has served as chairman of the National Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society and was president and chief volunteer officer for the United Way of South Mississippi. He also has served as president of the Gulfport Job Corps Center and chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Gulf Coast Medical Center.
Kelly received a bachelor's degree from Alcorn State University, a master's degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright welcomed the new leaders. "I am thrilled by the Board of Education's selection of Dr. Kelly and Mr. Morrison to help lead us through this critical time for public education in Mississippi," Wright said. "They are both deeply committed to providing the best education possible to all of Mississippi's children. I am confident their leadership will build upon Dr. Gann's significant contribution."
Vice-chair of the board of education will be Richard Morrison. He's the assistant superintendent of the Rankin County School District. Governor Phil Bryant appointed Morrison to the Board in 2012.
The State Board of Education sets public education policy and oversees the Mississippi Department of Education. It is made up of nine members appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House of Representatives.