State Superintendent of Education Dr. Hank Bounds will be honored by The University of Southern Mississippi College of Education and Psychology as its first Distinguished Alumnus of the Year during a banquet Aug. 29 at the Hattiesburg Country Club.
Bounds was named superintendent of education by the Mississippi Board of Education in June 2005 and began serving Aug. 1 of that year. In that post, he serves as the chief executive officer of the Mississippi Department of Education and provides leadership for all school districts across the state.
A graduate of Forrest County Agricultural High School in Brooklyn, Miss., he holds bachelor's and master's degrees from The University of Southern Mississippi and a doctorate from the University of Mississippi. He is a former superintendent and high school principal with the Pascagoula School District, a former principal at Lumberton and Forrest County AHS high schools, and taught at Moss Point and Petal high schools.
“We are so honored that Dr. Bounds is a product of our teacher education program. After all, how many people can boast that one of their alums is the state superintendent of education?” said Dr. Wanda Maulding, interim dean of the Southern Miss College of Education and Psychology.
“We’re fortunate to have such an energetic, bright superintendent forging the way for the children in our state. He is a delightful young person and a dynamic up-and-coming leader in the field of education.”
Other Southern Miss College of Education and Psychology alums will be honored at the same event with Bounds, including the following to be inducted into its Hall of Fame:
• Pamela Pridgen -- Library and Information Science
• Dr. Anthony A. Calabrese -- Psychology
• Paul M. Blount -- Technology Education
• David Mullins -- Child and Family Studies
As state superintendent, Bounds also advises the Mississippi Board of Education, the governor and the legislature as to the financial needs for the elementary and secondary education institutions, and is responsible for developing the departmental and general education budget for the state.
He provided crucial leadership for the recovery of the 297 schools impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and has been keenly focused on dropout prevention and raising student achievement. To do that, he has proposed sweeping changes that could dramatically change the face of education in the state.
Those proposed changes have been endorsed by the Mississippi legislature, which funded pilot sites for the plan, “Redesigning Education for the 21st Century Workforce in Mississippi,” designed to increase the rigor and relevance of the high school curriculum, increase the number and skill level of the state’s graduates, and increase economic development in the state by increasing and improving the labor pool.
“Dr. Bounds is truly a courageous leader doing whatever necessary to improve student achievement in our state,” said Dr. Ron Styron, interim associate dean for the college. “He is more than willing to make tough decisions that will benefit of our students, and is an inspiration to all P-12 administrators and teachers.”
Bounds’ leadership and talents have been recognized beyond the state. He was one of 19 national education leaders appointed to the Council of Chief State School Officers' Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization Task Force and has served on the Southeast Regional Advisory Board for the United States Department of Education and to the USDE National Forum on Education Statistics.
For more information on this event, contact the Southern Miss College of Education and
Psychology at 601.266.4568.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.