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JPS School Board Announces Bond Oversight Committee

Building Stronger Schools Together! - Jackson Public Schools

December 19, 2018

The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees introduced to the public the newly-appointed members of the Bond Oversight Committee at the regular Board meeting held on December 18.

"School facilities can have a profound impact on both teacher and student outcomes," said Board President Jeanne Hairston. "With respect to teachers, school facilities affect teacher recruitment, retention, commitment, and effort. With respect to students, school facilities affect health, behavior, engagement, learning, and growth in achievement. Thus, without adequate facilities and resources, it is extremely difficult to serve large numbers of children with complex needs."

As outlined in the Citizen Oversight Committee Statement of Purpose, this committee will track and communicate progress toward the construction of projects and the expenditure of funds associated with the $65 million school bond. In carrying out this duty, the committee will be expected to meet regularly as recommended by the School Board. The committee will receive bond updates from District administration and raise any questions or concerns. The committee will provide feedback to the Board regarding the status of construction and the use of bond funds.

The Board accepted applications from interested citizens throughout the month of October. Board members reviewed applications and made their selections during a special work session held in early December. That process yielded the committee's seven members with representation from each of the city's wards.

JPS Bond Oversight Committee

Akilah Irvin (Ward 1)

Akilah Irvin works as a Process Improvement Leader with Elior, NA in the Accounting and Finance Shared Services Division. She resides in Ward 1 with her husband Charles Irvin of Irvin Law, PLLC, along with their five children. Irvin is an alumna of Jackson Public Schools and currently has three children who attend schools within the Jackson Public School District. One son attends Murrah High School and is in the APAC program. Two of her other children attend Obama Magnet IB Elementary School. Irvin is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in Continuous Improvement and a Certified Quality Compliance Auditor. She joins the committee with over 15 years of experience in Project Management. She has expertly facilitated multimillion-dollar expansion projects at the Uncle Ben's rice factory in Greenville, Mississippi. She successfully led capital expenditure projects at the former RB manufacturing plant in Brandon, Mississippi. Irvin holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Jackson State University and a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University.

H. Ann C. Jones (Ward 2)

H. Ann Jones was born in Magnolia, Mississippi, where she graduated from Eva Gordon Attendance Center. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Dillard University in Louisiana and a Master of Science Degree in Immunology from Tuskegee University in Alabama. She worked as a scientist for a pharmaceutical company before moving to Jackson in 1977. As a citizen of Jackson, Jones has worked as a volunteer for many organizations throughout the city and state. These include local and state PTA/PTSA boards; local and national Girl Scouts of America boards; the Hinds County Foster Review Board; the Jackson/Hinds Arts Alliance; Leadership Jackson and Youth Leadership boards and the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. She was a member of Governor William Winter’s Task Force on Educational Reform as well as the Task Force for Jackson Change of Government. Jones served 13 years as a member of the JPS Board of Trustees during which time as Board President, a $150 million school bond referendum was passed. These funds were used for the building of new schools and additions as well as for renovations to other schools and other improvements to JPS facilities. Presently, Jones serves as a commissioner on the state's Commission on School Accreditation.

Sandra McCall (Ward 3)

Sandra McCall is a retired Jackson Public Schools professional development specialist who managed several federal programs and conducted certified and classified professional development training. After a successful career with JPS, McCall is enjoying a career as a political consultant, advising and assisting political campaigns. She is a strong advocate for children as evident in her creating the Mississippi State PTA Sandra McCall Teacher Education Scholarship during her tenure as State PTA president. McCall enjoys traveling and working on various committees at her church.

Erica Fell (Ward 4)

Erica Fell, originally from Lansing, Michigan, is a graduate of J. W. Sexton High School. She graduated in the top 25 of her class of over 300 students. She moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where she obtained a Bachelor of Administration degree in Business Management from Jackson State University and her Master of Science degree in Management from Belhaven University (College). Fell currently works for the State of Mississippi as a Federal Grant Program Manager, managing over $3.5 million and 17 sub-recipients for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and Housing Opportunities for Persons With Aids (HOPWA), in aiding the community in combating homelessness. Understanding the importance of giving back, Fell has served as chairperson to Jackson Public Schools GED Advisory Board and volunteers with the Forest Hill Youth Club and the Mississippi Food Network. She also serves as chair for the Local and State Board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program through the United Way, aiding nonprofits in providing food and utility assistance to communities.

Kass Welchlin (Ward 5)

Kass Welchlin has been a civically engaged citizen of the city of Jackson as a resident of Ward 5 for 20 years. He and his wife, Cassandra Welchlin, have three children. All are current students in the JPS school system. Welchlin’s career spans three industries: finance, nonprofit management, and building/construction management. Welchlin currently works with Raymond James Financial, Inc.

Ercilla Dometz-Hendrix (Ward 6)

Ercilla Dometz-Hendrix is a policy analyst and research expert with over a decade of experience in economic development, urban planning, international relations and political campaign management. Dometz-Hendrix is a proud graduate from the Universidad Americana in Nicaragua where she obtained her bachelor's degree in Diplomacy and International Relations. She also earned her master's degree in political science from Jackson State University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in urban planning at Jackson State University. Dometz-Hendrix is the proud mother to two children who have attended Jackson Public Schools since kindergarten. Farah attends Murrah High School and Tyrone II attends Barack Obama Magnet Elementary.

Mitch McGuffey (Ward 7)

Mitch McGuffey is a partner at Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP, located in downtown Jackson. He has two children currently enrolled in JPS schools. He and his wife, Amanda, are members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Prior to working at Forman Watkins, McGuffey began his legal career working for a firm in New York City and returned to Jackson to serve as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He attended law school at the University of Virginia and completed his undergraduate studies at Auburn University.