Mississippi Department of Education Schedules Listening Tour!

Mississippi Department of Education has scheduled a listening tour to hear from community as they gather feedback on the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and the MS State Board of Education’s strategic plan. Click here to see the flyer released by MDE. Each location will offer two opportunities to participate. The times for each meeting will be 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm. MDE is asking for participants to register for each meeting. You can register here. You can learn more about the State’s strategic plan here.

South by Southwest Experiment Summit 2016

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On July 28-31, 2016 SXSWE held a convening in Albuquerque, NM entitled “New Mexico Accountable Governance Summit.” This summit focused on achieving a representative democracy that responds to our community’s struggles with the level of urgency that they deserve. The subject of this summit was grounded in the rich political moment of the summer of 2016, will advance a set of principles aimed at improving government’s responsiveness to the struggles endured by everyday people in our day to day lives.  Read More →

Southern Echo Announces Rachel Mayes as Executive Director

Southern Echo Inc. Board of Directors is pleased to announce Ms. Rachel Mayes as the new Executive Director. This position was previously held by co-founder Mr. Leroy Johnson for 27 years.
Rachel brings more than 25 years of public, private and government experience in management, financial services and organizational development.  She has an undergraduate in Finance and an MBA.  As a native of Florence, Mississippi, her values are deeply rooted in family and community.  She has been instrumental in bringing community leaders together to address issues involving:  land zoning, civic engagement, human services, organizational development and school bond issues.

Rachel has held the following positions at Southern Echo prior to being selected as Executive Director:  Office Manager, Financial Coordinator, Logistics Manager, Operations Manager and Chief Finance Officer.

Rachel’s work experience prior to joining Southern Echo Inc. included: The Hinds County Board of Supervisors, SAKS Incorporated, Wells and Associates, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Jackson State University, TransUnion, and The Rankin County Human Resource Agency.

She currently resides in Hinds County, Mississippi.

“This is an exciting time for the organization!”  said Joyce Parker, Chair of Southern Echo’s Board of Directors.  “For 27 years, Southern Echo has worked to improve education and serve low-wealth communities in Mississippi and the Southeast Region of the United States.  This was accomplished by providing comprehensive training, organizing and technical assistance.”

Please join Southern Echo Inc. in sending a warm congratulations and welcome to Ms. Rachel Mayes as Southern Echo Inc.’s Executive Director.

The 2016 Mississippi Legislative Session: Brief Overview of Some of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

IMG_6203A brief overview of education legislation in the 2016 Mississippi Legislative Session is available explaining the good, the bad, and the ugly on public education legislation during the 2016 legislative session. Public education remained under attack in Mississippi and for the first time in the history of the state there existed a super conservative majority. The conservatives controlled the office of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, House of Representatives and the Senate. Public schools and public education were under severe attack this legislative session with bills being introduced around vouchers, scholarships, charter schools, school choice, open enrollment, virtual schools, achievement school districts, school district consolidation, literacy, school funding, Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), and Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).  To read and learn more about these bills, please see the analysis of the bills prepared by Michael Sayer, retired co-founder of Southern Echo and public policy consultant.

The Empire Strikes Back: Public Schools and Education Remain Under Severe Attack in Mississippi

Informative new documents are available explaining the attacks on public education during the 2016 legislative session. Public education remains under attack in Mississippi and for the first time in the history of the state there exists a super conservative majority. The conservatives control the office of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, House of Representatives and the Senate. The legislature is using its power to move an agenda to privatize public education and to further undermine and weaken a system that is already vulnerable and ranked 50th in the country. Public schools and public education is under severe attack this legislative session with bills being introduced around vouchers, scholarships, charter schools, school choice, open enrollment, virtual schools, achievement school districts, school district consolidation, literacy, school funding, Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), and Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). These bills are the direct result of premeditation and malice on the part of our conservative legislature to devalue and destroy Mississippi’s public education system, children and families. To read and learn more about these heinous bills, please see the analysis of the bills prepared by Michael Sayer, public policy consultant to Southern Echo, Inc., as well as retired co-founder of Southern Echo for over 25 years and Gregory Johnson, Executive Director of Progress MS, former employee and current secretary of Southern Echo’s Board of Directors.