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McNair New Leader of Mississippi School Boards Association

Tue, 11/28/2023 - 03:34pm | By: David Tisdale


University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Assistant Dean for Student Outreach and Support Delores McNair is the new president of the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) after being named to the post earlier this month by the organization.

McNair, currently president of the Hattiesburg Public School District’s (HPSD) Board of Trustees, will serve for one year in the statewide position, in which she is charged with providing quality leadership service for all Mississippi School Boards and in representing them at the national level, while also advocating for students, student achievement and public education. She will preside over meetings of the MSBA board of directors and represent the association at national meetings throughout the year. 

Legislatively, MSBA is charged with providing basic training for new school board members and continuing education for veteran board members. In addition, the association supports local school boards with training, strategic planning, policy development, technical assistance, and professional development conferences. Its resources are designed to empower school board members, with the philosophy that effective boards create effective school districts.

McNair was appointed to the HPSD Board of Trustees in 2017 by Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker and reappointed in 2022.  She is a 1988 graduate of Hattiesburg High School and has been a member of the USM staff for 25 years. A Southern Miss alumna, McNair will receive her doctorate in higher education administration during the university’s December 2023 commencement exercises.

“As a lifelong resident of Hattiesburg, I’m humbled to serve in this role to give back to a district that provided me a solid foundation,” McNair said of her appointment. “Serving on the local school board with my fellow board members has prepared me to step into the role of state president with confidence.  As president of MSBA, my goals are to provide leadership that fosters the continued growth of the association, and advocate for the continued success of public schools in Mississippi.

“I want to leave a legacy of service in my district, community, and the state,” McNair continued, in reflecting on her leadership goals. “Children need caring adults to ensure they have a quality education, and I am proud to be among the school board members in this state committed to this high calling.” 

McNair credited her late mother, Rebecca McNair, and two of her elementary school teachers, Mildred Short and Ruby Lee Thomas, for instilling in her the values that guide her day-to-day decisions and interactions with students and colleagues.

“My mother promised me that faith in God and education would take me farther than I could ever imagine, and here I am today,” McNair recounted. “Mrs. Short instilled a desire for reading and learning at the critical third grade level in a classroom at the now Historic Eureka Elementary School.  In that same building, my last elementary school teacher, Mrs. Thomas, often reminded her sixth-grade class that she would be at our graduation marking our names off her list. I wanted to make sure my name had a check mark.” 

USM Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Kristi Motter praised McNair for her contributions not only to Southern Miss and the HPSD, but now to advance PK-12 education across the state in her new role with MSBA.

“Delores has served Southern Miss and our students for more than 20 years, striving to deploy empathy, accountability, and leadership in her daily work,” Dr. Motter said. “We’re thrilled she has not only been selected to serve Hattiesburg, but also the state at large. Based on her work at Southern Miss, there’s no doubt she will ensure the work is about the student.”

(Photo courtesy of Mississippi School Boards Association)