Dr. Hank M. Bounds changed the landscape of education in Mississippi dramatically, even prior to becoming Commissioner of Higher Education on July 27, 2009. His dynamic leadership transformed the state's schools on a number of fronts.
His laser-like focus on decreasing the state's dropout rate has encouraged educators, parents, business and civic leaders to join in the battle cry. Dr. Bounds has involved the business community to help sponsor On The Bus, a dropout prevention campaign that includes multimedia commercials and advertising, summits, and rallies across the state to increase the graduation rate. The campaign has inspired everyone from large corporations to small local churches to get involved in helping students stay on the bus until graduation.
Recognizing that graduation begins with strong preparation, Dr. Bounds directed the implementation of a new, more rigorous curriculum and assessment program designed to reflect national standards. The reading/language arts curriculum and mathematics curriculum were revised for all grade levels from kindergarten through high school and have been recognized for the high level of rigor by national curriculum experts.
To reflect the increased rigor of the curriculum and assessment system, Dr. Bounds guided the creation of a new school performance classification system that will ensure transparency of school performance to parents and the community. With the new system, schools will be able to compare their performance to schools at and above the national average.
His commitment to helping all children succeed in school and beyond was the impetus behind his plan for Redesigning Education for the 21st Century Workforce in Mississippi. The Redesign Initiative, now in its third year of implementation, focuses on helping students learn how to use technology to solve problems and prepares them to compete globally for college or career opportunities.
Reaching beyond the state to secure resources to utilize within the state, Dr. Bounds secured a $17 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish the Mississippi Center for Education Innovation, whose mission is to transform education in Mississippi through community and family engagement, early childhood education, teacher quality and leadership development. He has also been instrumental in developing partnerships with numerous foundations and corporations both within and beyond Mississippi, including the National Governors Association, the Bower Foundation, AT&T, Entergy, State Farm and Nissan.
Dr. Bounds has also worked with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Education Committee chairmen in both houses and other legislators to pass legislation crucial to the improvement of schools, including the Healthy Students Act of 2006, the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2007, the Quality Education Act of 2008 and the Children First Act of 2009.
Before becoming the chief executive officer of Mississippi K-12 Public Education on August 1, 2005, Dr. Bounds served as superintendent of the Pascagoula School District. He was principal in two high schools and one K-12 school. He holds both a Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration and Secondary Education and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi.
Recent awards presented to Dr. Bounds are the University of Southern Mississippi College of Education and Psychology Alumni of the Year 2008; Mississippi School Nurse Association 2008 Distinguished Service Award; and the National Association for Gifted Children David W. Belin Advocacy Award 2007.
Dr. Bounds and his wife, Susie, are the parents of a son, Will, and a daughter, Caroline.