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JPS Chief of Staff Appointed to Early Childhood Advisory Council

April 29, 2021

Michael Cormack Jr.
Dr. Michael Cormack Jr.

JPS Chief of Staff, Dr. Michael Cormack, has been appointed to the State Early Childhood Advisory Council (SECAC). On March 1, 2021, Governor Tate Reeves announced the council's new members. Dr. Cormack will represent the school district as a Local Education Agency that engages with early education and care services.

Named Chief of Staff of Jackson Public Schools in 2019, Dr. Cormack was instrumental in developing the District's five-year strategic plan which emphasizes a strong start for early learners through expanded access to high-quality pre-K. He leads the work of maintaining the District's movement toward achieving its priority commitments, which include access to full-day learning programs for four-year-olds, developing innovative teaching and learning opportunities, and facilitating joyful learning experiences for all students.

"I'm excited to lend my voice to the Council in support of our district’s strong start commitment," says Cormack. "We know that high-quality learning experiences for our youngest scholars set the stage for success not only in kindergarten but throughout their entire educational journey."

Governor Reeves further underscores the point: "Expanded access to high-quality programs means that more children will be ready for kindergarten, thus allowing schools and districts opportunities to intervene earlier when deficiencies are identified."

Dr. Cormack began his career as a teacher and elementary principal in the Mississippi Delta region. As Chief Executive Officer of the Barksdale Reading Institute, he supervised the Mississippi Building Blocks program, a forerunner to the Early Childhood Academy program that supports professional development and curricular materials for childcare centers throughout the state. He received his bachelor's degree from Boston College. His advanced degrees include a master's in elementary education from Delta State University, a master's in organizational leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a doctor of education degree in education leadership and policy studies from Vanderbilt University.

The State Early Childhood Advisory Council is a group of individuals appointed by the governor to serve as his advisors on issues pertaining to early childhood education and care for children from birth to school entry. Established by the Head Start Act of 2007, the organization exists to advise the Governor's Office on matters related to young children and serves as a liaison between the Governor's Office and administrative agencies and providers. The responsibilities of the SECAC include conducting periodic statewide needs assessments regarding early childhood quality and access and developing recommendations related to increasing participation, collecting data, educator professional development, improving standards, evaluating effectiveness, and more.

The current council consists of 12 members appointed to fill required roles in the Head Start Act, nine members with relevant perspectives as determined by the governor, and four members representing early education and care providers across the state.

Learn more about the State Early Childhood Advisory Council.