Meridian Star

August 30, 2013

Reeves names 3 members of charter school board

JEFF AMY, Associated Press
Associated Press

JACKSON — The final three members have been named to Mississippi's new charter school board.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said Friday that he's appointing Clinton attorney Tommie Cardin, Ocean Springs school Superintendent Bonita Coleman-Potter and Oxford businesswoman Karen Elam.

Cardin, who represents the central Supreme Court district, works for the Butler Snow law firm and has done contract work for the legislative committee that redraws voting district lines every 10 years. He is a past president of the Clinton school board.

Coleman-Potter, representing the southern district, was named Ocean Springs superintendent last year. Before that, she had been a deputy superintendent in Maryland and in the city of Jackson schools, and had been an associate state superintendent for the Mississippi Department of Education.

Elam, representing the northern district, is a consultant who represents food and drug ingredient associations on regulatory matters. Before that, she was senior director of consumer and scientific affairs and senior director of nutrition and consumer affairs for Nabisco. Earlier, she was a professor nutrition and food science at the University of Missouri and Michigan State University.

They join three members appointed earlier this month by Gov. Phil Bryant — former gubernatorial education adviser Johnny Franklin of Bolton, real estate agent Chris Wilson of Laurel and teacher Krystal Cormack of Clarksdale.

Interim state Superintendent Lynn House named herself to the board.

All appointees must be confirmed by state senators. Bryant's appointees would serve four year terms, while Reeves' appointees would initially serve three and House, two, to create staggered terms of office. After that, all appointees would serve four-year terms.

The board is supposed to meet after Sept. 1 and is required by law to accept an initial round of applications by Dec. 1. The board is also supposed to hire a combination executive director and general counsel.

The new law, passed earlier this year, expands authority to create charter schools — public schools run by private groups that meet certain standards in exchange for less regulation.

"Every child in Mississippi deserves an opportunity for a better education, and public charter schools allow parents to have school choice for their children," Reeves said in a statement.

Elam and her husband gave a total of $6,800 to Republican candidates and the state party in the 2011 election cycle, according to the National Institute for Money in State Politics. Cardin and his wife gave $6,550 in 2011 and 2012. A majority of that money went to Democrats, but some also went to Republicans and nonpartisan judicial candidates.