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6/17/2009 - Jackson, Miss.

In a press conference today, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) announced their unanimous decision to name Dr. Hank Bounds, current State Superintendent of Education, the next Commissioner of Higher Education. Dr. Bounds will assume the commissioner position near the end of July. The announcement was made following open interviews with various constituency groups, during which participants had the opportunity to evaluate Dr. Bounds.

"This is a great day for the state of Mississippi," said Mr. Ed Blakeslee, chair of the Commissioner Board Search Committee. "Dr. Bounds brings the experience, passion, and vision to move the university system forward and to forge a collaborative relationship between the secondary and postsecondary education systems in the state."

Dr. Bounds offered the following comment, upon being named commissioner: "I am honored that the Board of Trustees have entrusted me to lead the state's university system. Mississippi's eight universities have an excellent track record in preparing our students for the workforce and making contributions to premier industries around the world. We all know that in these tough economic times, a more educated citizenry should be of the highest priority. As commissioner, I will continue to focus on building a more seamless and accessible system from pre-Kindergarten through advanced degrees. I enthusiastically accept this responsibility and look forward to working with the College Board and our outstanding university presidents."

As the State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Bounds has changed the landscape of education in the Mississippi. He has garnered statewide support to decrease the state's dropout rate, implemented a new, more rigorous curriculum and assessment program, and guided the creation of a new school performance classification system. He has also launched a plan for redesigning education to better prepare students for today's workplace. Dr. Bounds secured a $17 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and developed partnerships with numerous foundations and corporations both within and beyond Mississippi. He has also worked with the state's elected leaders to pass legislation crucial to the improvement of schools. Before becoming the chief executive officer of Mississippi K-12 Public Education, Dr. Bounds served as superintendent of the Pascagoula School District. He was principal in two high schools and one K-12 school. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Mississippi.

A biographical sketch and photo of preferred candidate Dr. Hank Bounds may be found here.

A profile of Dr. Bounds may be found here.

A list of milestones reached during Dr. Bounds' tenure as State Superintendent of Education may be found here.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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