Pictured above: L to R: President James Stubbs, Vice-President Etta Taplin, and Secretary-Treasurer Sondra Odom.
CLINTON, MS – Long Beach school board member James Stubbs is the new president of the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) for the 2013-14 school year. The former colonel in the U.S. Army was elected to head the organization on Tuesday, November 12 by the MSBA Delegates’ Assembly, a group representing school board members from across Mississippi. The Delegates Assembly, convening during the MSBA Fall Leadership Conference in Jackson, also elected North Pike School District board president Etta Taplin as vice president, and Pearl Public School board president Sondra Odom as MSBA secretary-treasurer. New Albany board member Bobby Gault will remain on the board as MSBA immediate past president.
Six school board members also were elected to two-year terms and four board members were elected to one-year unexpired terms. Those elected to two year terms were: Congressional District 1: Patrick “Russ” Nash, Alcorn Schools; Danny Robbins, Pontotoc County Schools; Mindy Brand, Amory Schools; Congressional District 3: Scott Bryan, Lawrence County Schools; Von Norwood, Jefferson County Schools; and Kay Smith, Union Municipal Schools. Board members who will fill one-year unexpired terms are Congressional District 2: Jesse King, Greenville Schools; Leroy Matthews, Quitman County Schools; Marilyn Young, Tunica County Schools; and, Congressional District 3: Randall Dewitt, Pass Christian Schools.
“The MSBA Board of Directors attracts some of the state’s most knowledgeable, professional, and dedicated school board members,” stated MSBA Executive Director Michael W. Waldrop regarding the newly elected officers and board members. “This association considers it a privilege to have them use their skills and expertise as they help us to refine MSBA’s work in supporting effective school board governance.”
More about the officers:
James C. Stubbs, a member of the Long Beach School District Board of Trustees, is former director of civilian training for the Department of Navy’s Professional Development Center in Gulfport. He is certified as a Navy Alternate Dispute Resolution Specialist, facilitator and mediator mentor. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserves as a colonel after 30 years of service. His service on the MSBA Board of Directors began as a presidential appointee in November 2006. He was subsequently elected to a two-year term. Stubbs earned an M.S. degree in education administration and supervision from the University of Southern Mississippi and a B.S. degree in mathematics from Alcorn State University. He and his wife Imogene have two adult children.
A member of the Board of Trustees of the North Pike School District since 2003, Etta Taplin is president of her local school board. A consultant specializing in grant writing. Taplin also is former chief financial officer of the Amite County Medical Center and the SHARP Community Health Center. Her community service includes helping to establish the Pike County Animal League Shelter and serving as a committee volunteer for the Mississippi March of Dimes efforts in Pike County. She and husband Estes have two children.
A board member in Pearl Public School District for 21 years, Sondra Odom is serving her thirteenth year as president of her local board. She is a former youth court counselor in Rankin County. Active in her community and church, Odom is a recipient of the Pearl Chamber of Commerce’s Pillar of the Community award. She and husband Steve are partners in several businesses in the Rankin County area. A 1977 graduate of Mississippi State University, Odom and her husband have two adult married children and one granddaughter.
More about the directors:
A member of the Amory School Board for twelve years, Mindy Brand is a former school teacher. She spends time volunteering at the district’s high school as a tutor for the State U.S. History test. She and husband have three sons –– two in college and one an eighth grader.
Currently serving his second term on the Lawrence County School Board, Scott Bryan serves as his local board’s president. He is employed as technical manager for a specialty chemical company. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Bryan’s military service spans 27 years in the Navy and Navy Reserves. He and his wife Cindy have two daughters: one a recent graduate of Mississippi State and the other a high school senior.
Randall Dewitt has been a member of the Pass Christian School Board of Trustees for four terms, currently serving as board president. A retired accountant, he works part-time as a teacher and coach at Hancock High School during baseball season. Dewitt is a strong supporter of military veterans, delivering speeches annually at schools and various community forums. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign War, and the American Legion. He is an alumnus of the University of Maryland, Georgia State University and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Dewitt and his wife Phyllis have four grown sons, two of them teachers.
Jesse King, school board member in the Greenville School District since March 2011, also is superintendent of the North Bolivar School District. Prior to becoming North Bolivar’s superintendent, King was federal programs director in the Leland School District. He also was a high school principal in the Leland district. King earned the Master of Secondary Education degree from Delta State University and his undergraduate degree from Mississippi Valley State University. In addition to being a board member and superintendent, King also pastors Greater St. Peter Baptist Church in Greenville and serves on the Board of Directors of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) in Little Rock, Arkansas. He and wife Sandra have four grown daughters and a son, who is in college.
Leroy Matthews, president of the Quitman County School District Board of Trustees, was the district’s superintendent for 12 years before retiring several years ago. An educator for more than 30 years, Matthews earned a B. A. degree from the University of Mississippi and M.A. and Specialist degrees from Delta State University. A retired National Guardsman, he also serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Non-Commissioned Officers Association of the National Guard. He and his wife Linda have four grown children.
President of the Alcorn County School Board, Patrick “Russ” Nash has served on his local board for three years. He earned a B.S. degree in information technology and a M.S. degree in information security. The Information Technology Department at Magnolia Regional Hospital in Corinth is his workplace. His wife’s name is Theresa.
Von Norwood, Jefferson Davis County School District board member since 2009, owns Norwood Medical Supply (started in 2004) and Gladys’ Beauty Supply. A business graduate of Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, TX, she formerly worked as a Youth Jobs Program coordinator for the City of Jackson and as a Federal Programs Monitor for the U. S. Government.
Currently vice president of the Pontotoc County School District Board of Trustees, Danny Robbins previously served on the school board from 1980 through 1986. He is in the third year of his current term on the board. The business owner of North Mississippi Central Vac, Robbins is a former educator at the secondary and post-secondary levels and has served as a university instructor for teacher recertification. He also was the coordinator and co-developer of the 2+2+2 program, working with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Itawamba Community College in serving a five-county district for high school seniors. He and his wife, Demetria, have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
A retired special needs teacher, Kay Smith has 26 years of experience in the classroom. She holds a masters degree from the University of Mississippi. She was appointed to the School Board of Union Public School District in 2010 and served from 2011 to 2013 as board president. Smith currently serves as Secretary of the Board.
Marilyn L. Young, President of the Tunica County School District Board of Trustees, was elected to her local board in 2005, becoming the first African American woman elected in her district. For the past 29 years, she has been actively involved in helping to organize for improvements in her community. She earned a B.B.A. degree from LeMoyne Owen College in Memphis. Elected to the Board of Directors of Southern Echo, Inc. in 1994, she now serves as a Field Organizer with the organization. Founder of the local community based grassroots organization, Concerned Citizens For A Better Tunica County, Inc., Young also serves as Education Director for the nonprofit organization Tunica Teens in Action Inc. She and her husband Melvin have four children.