Bryant Appoints Charter School Board Members

Jackson, Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant Monday appointed three members to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. It's responsible for approving and overseeing public charter schools in Mississippi.

Each appointee comes from a Mississippi Supreme Court District and will serve a 4-year term, beginning Sept. 1.

Johnny Franklin will represent Supreme Court District 1, Chris Wilson will represent Supreme Court District 2 and Krystal Cormack will represent Supreme Court District 3.

"At the close of this legislative session, I signed my Education Works measures into law, launching powerful education reform momentum in Mississippi," said Bryant in a news release. "These policies will benefit students of all ages by targeting improvements in literacy, teacher quality, college and career readiness, early childhood education and school choice."

Bryant said charter schools will raise the bar for all public schools, and that includes allowing families to choose the best possible education for their children.

The seven-member authorizing board was established earlier this year when Bryant enacted House Bill 369, the Mississippi Charter Schools Act. The authorizing board can approve up to 15 qualified public charter school applications each fiscal year.

Applications to locate a public charter school within the boundaries of a school district rated A, B or C by the Mississippi Department of Education must receive majority support from the local school board. The charter board is also responsible for overseeing charter school operations and deciding whether to renew or revoke charter contracts.

The appointments will be brought before the Mississippi Senate for confirmation during the 2014 regular legislative session.

The lieutenant governor also gets to name three appointees and the state superintendent of education names the seventh.

The governor's office provided information about Bryant's appointees. It appears below.

Johnny Franklin began his career in 1967 as a teacher and coach at Warren Central High School. He later served the Warren County School District as principal of Warren Central Junior High School, principal of Warren Central High School and assistant superintendent for instruction for the district. He also served as assistant superintendent for instruction for the Clinton Public School District. Franklin was the inaugural director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and the director of the Office of Instructional Development for the Mississippi Department of Education. From 1998-2001, he directed special projects and the Center for Educational Analysis for the Public Education Forum of Mississippi, a non-partisan education policy research group under the Mississippi Economic Council. Franklin also served as principal of New Summit School from 2003-2006, leading K-12 students encountering academic difficulties. Most recently, he served as education policy adviser to Governors Phil Bryant and Haley Barbour. Franklin holds an associate degree from Hinds Community College and earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education administration from Mississippi College. He also completed doctoral studies in education leadership at Mississippi State University. He and his wife Carol Ann Franklin live in Bolton. They have five daughters and five grandchildren.

Chris Wilson is a native and resident of Laurel, Miss. and is the managing partner of First Choice, LLC, a real estate brokerage and development firm that he founded in 1974. He is former director at large and president of the Mississippi Association of Realtors and is a charter member of the Mississippi Commercial Association of Realtors. Wilson has served the Jones County Economic Development Authority for many years and was chairman of the education task force from 2008-2012. In 2008, he initiated the Jones County Education Symposium to increase awareness about the importance of quality public education, and he secured and managed grant funding to launch the JCJC Math League, an 8-county high school math competition hosted by Jones County Junior College. Wilson is a graduate of Laurel public schools and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Mississippi State University. He and his wife Holland Thompson Wilson have one daughter, Elizabeth Wilson Harris.

Krystal Cormack is an educator and classroom teacher. A resident of Clarksdale, Miss., Cormack began her career as fourth grade teacher with Teach for America at Jonestown Elementary and led her students to two years of reading growth. From 2007-2012, she served as managing director of alumni affairs for Teach for America, where she established the regional mission for TFA and coached TFA alumni in school leadership positions. Most recently Cormack served as lead teacher at Crenshaw Elementary for the Barksdale Reading Institute where she manages curriculum and teaches reading and language arts to fourth and fifth grade students. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. Cormack and her husband Michael Cormack Jr. are expecting their third child.