Gov. Phil Bryant today appointed three members to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board, the board responsible for approving and overseeing public charter schools in Mississippi. Each of the governor’s appointees represents a Mississippi Supreme Court District, and each appointee will serve a four-year term beginning September 1.
Johnny Franklin will represent Supreme Court District 1, Chris Wilson will represent Supreme Court District 2 and Krystal Cormack will represent Supreme Court District 3.
“At the close of this legislative session, I signed my Education Works measures into law, launching powerful education reform momentum in Mississippi,” Gov. Bryant said. “These policies will benefit students of all ages by targeting improvements in literacy, teacher quality, college and career readiness, early childhood education and school choice.
“We are raising the bar for all public schools, and that includes allowing families to choose the best possible education for their children. Charter schools will provide new opportunities in Mississippi, and the members of this authorizing board will play an important role in establishing successful public charter schools in our state.
“These appointees bring a wealth of diverse experience to the table, and I am confident Mississippi will benefit from their expertise.”
The seven-member authorizing board was established earlier this year when Gov. Bryant enacted House Bill 369, the Mississippi Charter Schools Act. Under the law, which is part of Bryant’s Education Works agenda, the authorizing board can approve up to 15 qualified public charter school applications each fiscal year. Applications to locate a public charter school within the boundaries of a school district rated A, B or C by the Mississippi Department of Education must receive majority support from the local school board. The charter board is also responsible for overseeing charter school operations and deciding whether to renew or revoke charter contracts.
The appointments will be brought before the Mississippi Senate for confirmation during the 2014 regular legislative session.
About the appointees
Johnny Franklin began his career in 1967 as a teacher and coach at Warren Central High School. He later served the Warren County School District as principal of Warren Central Junior High School, principal of Warren Central High School and assistant superintendent for instruction for the district. He also served as assistant superintendent for instruction for the Clinton Public School District. Franklin was the inaugural director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and the director of the Office of Instructional Development for the Mississippi Department of Education. From 1998-2001, he directed special projects and the Center for Educational Analysis for the Public Education Forum of Mississippi, a non-partisan education policy research group under the Mississippi Economic Council. Franklin also served as principal of New Summit School from 2003-2006, leading K-12 students encountering academic difficulties. Most recently, he served as education policy adviser to Governors Phil Bryant and Haley Barbour. Franklin holds an associate degree from Hinds Community College and earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education administration from Mississippi College. He also completed doctoral studies in education leadership at Mississippi State University. He and his wife Carol Ann Franklin live in Bolton. They have five daughters and five grandchildren.
“I am grateful to Governor Bryant for giving me the chance to serve Mississippi in this capacity,” Franklin said. “Our state is turning a new page in public education policy, and I am excited to help bring new opportunities to Mississippi children and their families. I look forward to working with the other board members to accomplish this goal.”
Chris Wilson is a native and resident of Laurel, Miss. and is the managing partner of First Choice, LLC, a real estate brokerage and development firm that he founded in 1974. He is former director at large and president of the Mississippi Association of Realtors and is a charter member of the Mississippi Commercial Association of Realtors. Wilson has served the Jones County Economic Development Authority for many years and was chairman of the education task force from 2008-2012. In 2008, he initiated the Jones County Education Symposium to increase awareness about the importance of quality public education, and he secured and managed grant funding to launch the JCJC Math League, an 8-county high school math competition hosted by Jones County Junior College. Wilson is a graduate of Laurel public schools and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Mississippi State University. He and his wife Holland Thompson Wilson have one daughter, Elizabeth Wilson Harris.
“There is hardly a problem we face in Mississippi that cannot be addressed and eventually overcome with improved education,” Wilson said. “It’s clear our governor has his eye on that most important ball and is working to move this goal forward, instead of talking about it. To simply thank him for this appointment and the opportunity to do my part in that most important job is not enough. I also pledge to him and all the children in Mississippi that I will work diligently to help create a charter school system that will accomplish that goal.”
Krystal Cormack is an educator and classroom teacher. A resident of Clarksdale, Miss., Cormack began her career as fourth grade teacher with Teach for America at Jonestown Elementary and led her students to two years of reading growth. From 2007-2012, she served as managing director of alumni affairs for Teach for America, where she established the regional mission for TFA and coached TFA alumni in school leadership positions. Most recently Cormack served as lead teacher at Crenshaw Elementary for the Barksdale Reading Institute where she manages curriculum and teaches reading and language arts to fourth and fifth grade students. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. Cormack and her husband Michael Cormack Jr. are expecting their third child.
“I am honored and grateful to have been appointed to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizing Board,” Cormack said. “I’d like to thank the governor for this opportunity. I hope to bring my passion for serving students to this board. The students of Mississippi are capable of great things, and I consider it a great honor to be able to advocate for them in this capacity.”
Governor Phil Bryant Press Release