Our Mission

The North Mississippi Education Consortium is a partnership between forty-four North Mississippi public school districts, three community colleges, and the University of Mississippi’s School of Education. Its purpose is to provide a means whereby participating members can assure quality educational programs through cooperative efforts and shared resources, for the benefit of students and communities being served.

These efforts include: pooling local resources for special projects; professional development; sharing of expertise among members; identifying and securing revenues for cooperative projects, and exerting influence on state and national educational issues.

We’re proud to offer some of the best professional development workshops in the South. NMEC works with renowned educators from across the country to develop all of our content and bring it directly to the individuals who need it.

Jimmy Weeks


Dr. Weeks served as a classroom teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent for twenty-five years. Before joining the North MS Education Consortium in July 2019, he was the superintendent of Lee County School District.

He has a Bachelors of Education from Mississippi State University. He also earned a Masters of Educational Leadership and Doctorate of Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi.

Susan Scott

Project Coordinator

Mrs. Scott serves as Project Manager for grants, and is responsible for scheduling and coordinating professional development modules for the MS Department of Education (MDE), school districts, and private entities. Susan has been with the North MS Education Consortium since 2004. Prior to her employment with NMEC, she spent twelve and a half years with the Marshall County School District, serving as a classroom teacher and Lead Teacher. She also worked with curriculum and instruction, Title I, and testing. Susan currently holds a Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership and a MS Administrator’s license. She is also an adjunct instructor for the University of Mississippi in the School of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction department.

Briana Talley

Program Coordinator

Mrs. Talley manages the daily function and development of the professional development database for the MS Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs). In addition, she assists with accounts payable for the North MS Education Consortium. She also acts as a liaison between educators, school districts, the MS Department of Education, and various other parties to aid in the facilitation of continuing education programs (traditional and virtual). She attained a Bachelors of General Studies from the University of Mississippi that focuses in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Mathematics Education.

Anna Gillentine

Educational Outreach Specialist

Miss Brantley is the point of contact for earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs), School Executive Management Institute (SEMI) credits, and Orientation for School Leaders (OSL) credits that teachers and administrators use to renew their license. She also provides aid in facilitating all professional development trainings held at the North MS Education Consortium. She has a Bachelor’s in Human Sciences in Human Development and Family Studies from Mississippi State University.

During her free time, she works as a Banquet and Reception Coordinator for Taylor Grocery Special Events Catering.

Marvin Williams

Video Production Coordinator

Dr. Williams oversees the video production and technology in both of the consortium’s classrooms as well as the in-house green room. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia, a Master’s of Arts in Journalism from the University of Mississippi, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi. In his thirty years with this University, he has worked as a video production coordinator for the School of Education, served as a Professor in the School of Journalism,  and has completed several other video production projects for Ole Miss. In addition to his experience at Ole Miss, he has worked with CNN and other television stations in Savannah, Jacksonville, and New Orleans.

With his expertise, the North MS Education Consortium has produced over one thousand videos, including the award winning SOE Minute from the University of Mississippi’s School of Education.

Christopher “Cookie” Williams

Video Production Consultant

Mr. Williams assists in the day-to-day operations and video production of the North MS Education Consortium.  He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi, and has fifteen years of experience in video production from camera operator to video editor to graphics designer.  Cookie has worked on several different projects which ranged from national advertising for Ole Miss Athletics to award winning indie films.

Cathy Grace

Early Childhood Education Program Specialist

Dr. Grace is currently serving as the Co-Director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning, and the Early Childhood Education Program Specialist with North Mississippi Education Consortium. Her forty-year career in early childhood education has taken her from the classroom as a first grade teacher in rural Arkansas and Cleveland, Mississippi to the university classroom. After obtaining her Doctorate of Education at the University of Mississippi, she has served as a faculty member at Mississippi Valley State University, University of Southern Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. She has served as the early childhood coordinator at the Mississippi Department of Education, the founding director of the Family Resource Center in Tupelo, Mississippi, and as a consultant to Lift Head Start. Dr. Grace is the founding director of the Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University serving as the director for eleven years. She held the rank of full professor in the College of Education when she departed to serve as the national early childhood policy director for the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, DC. Prior to accepting the position at UM, Dr. Grace served as the program director of the Gilmore Early Learning Initiative, one of the first state-funded pre-kindergarten program, for three years.

The co-author of three books and numerous research articles, Dr. Grace is considered a national expert on the education of young children living in rural areas. A former past president of the Mississippi Early Childhood Association, she has won numerous awards recognizing her leadership in education in the State.

Cathy Hollingshed

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Hollingshed works with the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning as an administrative assistant for Dr. Cathy Grace.  Cathy holds a Bachelor’s in Information Technology Services from Mississippi State University.  She has one daughter, Breland, a junior at Tupelo High School.

Cathy enjoys cooking, gardening, Sunday dinners with family, football and tailgating! Her favorite quote is, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”  -Robert Frost

Connie Clay

Education and Training Specialist

Dr. Clay serves as Education and Training Specialist for the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and a Master’s of Science in Child Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. She also earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Science from Mississippi State University. Connie has provided training and technical assistance in the field of early childhood education for over 40 years. Her experience includes working with early intervention services, Head Start and child care. Connie also has experience in the classroom as a kindergarten and preschool teacher. Dr. Clay is a past president of Mississippi Early Childhood Association and was awarded the MsECA Award for service to the association.

Connie resides in Madison, MS with her husband. She is the mother of two and the grandmother of six.

Gena Puckett

Education and Training Specialist

Mrs. Puckett serves as Education and Training Specialist for the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Ashworth College, a Master of Science in Early Childhood Studies from Walden University, and currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Early Childhood Education from Walden University. Gena has experience in the early childhood profession for over 27 years. She has classroom experiences as a teacher in private child care centers and Head Start. Gena’s experiences also include positions as a center director, technical assistant, early childhood education coach, field supervisor, and trainer throughout the state of Mississippi. Gena is a past president of Mississippi Early Childhood Association (MsECA) and a member of several other Mississippi early childhood programs that work to offer support for Mississippi’s families, children and early childhood professionals.

Mason Grace

Coordinator of the Building Minds Program

Mr. Grace is Coordinator of the Building Minds Program for family child care providers. He is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. He previously worked for the Gilmore Foundation in Amory, MS with the GELI pre-school program and Unity of Ft. Lauderdale.

He resides in Tupelo, MS.

Charlotte Christian

Charlotte Christian, Ed. M, has been in education for over 30 years.  She retired in 2019 as the Director of Counselors and Student Support Services for Rankin County School District.

Mrs. Christian currently works in the areas of Comprehensive Counseling Programs to Support School Improvement, Supporting College and Career Ready Students through Effective Student Records’ Transitional Meetings, Social Emotional Learning as a Key Component in Response to Crises,  Auditing of Student Records to Assure Student Success,  Counselor Crisis Management Plan and Risk Assessment to Support Safe School Climates.

Under Mrs. Christian’s leadership Rankin County School District was the first in Mississippi to receive the American School Counseling Association’s (ASCA) distinguished Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) Award for two schools.  Her expertise is in the fields of school counseling, gifted education, juvenile justice, student records, behavior and academic interventions, crisis management, social and emotional learning, and student assessment.

Mrs. Christian is a Certified National Board Counselor and Certified National Board School Counselor.  She holds certifications in School Counseling, Educational Administration, Gifted Education and Psychometry.  Currently, she is serving on the Board of Directors for the Magnolia State American School Counseling Association and Shannon’s Home for Hope (an emergency shelter for children in Rankin County).

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
– Benjamin Franklin

Julia Cole

Mrs. Cole, Ed. S, a 43-year veteran educator, is currently a Nationally Certified Facilitator and Coach for The National Institute for School Leadership (NISL/ NCEE).

Comprehensive Counseling programs that support school improvement, Family & Community Engagement as well as Increasing Graduation Rates are areas of her expertise.  She also facilitates in the areas of Teacher Effectiveness, English language arts, Early Childhood, and Professional Learning Communities.

Mrs. Cole has also assisted in the development of and been an instructor for special topics in the MS Administrator Alternate Route Program (MAPQSL).

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Leslie Coleman

Mrs. Coleman served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, principal mentor and school improvement coach during her 28 years in the field of education.  Before becoming an educator, she served as an active duty and reserve Army Officer for eight years.

During Mrs. Coleman’s time as a school principal in the Jackson Public School District, she led her school to a an “A” achievement level and maintained that rating.  While in JPS, the superintendent selected her to serve as a principal mentor and she was selected by her peers to serve as the feeder pattern leader of eight elementary, middle and high schools. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, her school won the Mississippi Department of Education’s “Champions of Change Award” and in 2015 won the “Highest Performing Award” for closing the achievement gap (one of only two schools in the state).   In 2015, her school was the only Mississippi school to be awarded the National Blue-Ribbon Award.

Mrs. Coleman has served as a school improvement coach in the Office of School Improvement at the Mississippi Department of Education for the past six years.  She coached seventeen delta area schools in five school districts.  Eleven of the schools she supported increased at least one letter grade and six others increased growth in achievement points on the Mississippi Statewide Accountability Model.

Mrs. Coleman holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi, a Master of Education in School Leadership from Mississippi College, National Board Certification – National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and additional course work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
– Nelson Mandela

Janie Conway

Dr. Conway holds a doctoral degree from The University of Mississippi in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Elementary Education. She has 40 years of experience serving as a classroom teacher, principal and college professor. Dr. Conway has served as a first-year teacher/principal mentor, instructional coach and school improvement consultant. She currently works with NMEC as an independent consultant and trainer. She has conducted numerous workshops at the state, district, and school level in traditional, job embedded and online format. Dr. Conway has conducted sessions on school leadership, teacher/principal evaluation, mentoring, alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to increase student achievement, data coaching, classroom management, and Hands on Minds on learning through differentiated whole and small group instruction. She has a special focus in the areas of Reading and Language Arts K-12.

With relentless regularity, focused leaders ask the question “is it working to improve student learning.”
— Douglas Reeves

Dale Dobbs

Dr. Dobbs has an earned doctorate from The University of Kentucky in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Supervision. With fifty -three years as a teacher, coach, administrator, supervisor and consultant working in Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee, he offers comprehensive experience and practice in effective education. Primary areas of expertise are: School Leadership; Comprehensive School Improvement; Mentoring School Principals and Assistant Principals; Coaching Classroom Teachers; Classroom Management; and K-12 Social Studies Instruction.

Education is the foundation upon which we build our future.

Ruth Dobbs

Dr. Dobbs has been in education for 55 years.  She has served in a number of different capacities (teacher, assistant principal, principal, Federal Programs Director, DTC, Accreditation Director, and adjunct instructor for ICC and UM.  She has been a valuable asset to NMEC for the last 12 years.


Kim Jenkins

Education is my passion. I am a retired teacher with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in K-8. I taught classroom grades K, 1, 3, and 4 for 23 years, and I also served as a State Literacy Coach for MDE from 2015 thru 2019.

I am very knowledgeable in the areas of the 5 Components of Literacy, Teacher Table, Centers, Data, and classroom management and structure. I am also well versed in Guided Reading and Phonics First.
I have conducted numerous PD’s and have presented and several conferences across the county.

I have been married for 31 years to David Jenkins, and we have 3 children (Sara, Tucker, and Emily), 2 son’s in laws (Jake and Russ), and 1 grandchild (Ivey Jane Logan).

The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
– Dr. Suess

Candy Mize

Mrs. Mize served as a teacher, lead teacher, assistant principal, district director and regional service officer for the Mississippi Department of Education over a course of thirty-five years. Before joining the North MS Education Consortium in October 2019, she was the Director of Elementary Curriculum and the Director of Professional Development for the Oxford School District.

She has a Bachelors of Elementary Education from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s in Elementary Education with an Administrator’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Southern Mississippi. Mrs. Mize has served on the Early Childhood & Language Arts Committee and the Mississippi Literacy Committee for the Mississippi Department of Education.

I never lose. I either win or I learn.
– Zig Ziglar

Jerry Moore

Mr. Moore served as a classroom teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent and lead school improvement coach for 28 years. While serving as an assistant superintendent, he held the positions of Curriculum Director, District Testing Coordinator, Federal Programs Director and ELL Coordinator. Prior to his retirement in July of 2019, he served 4 years as a lead school improvement coach for the University of Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of School Improvement working with K-12 school principals across the state in an effort to increase student learning outcomes. He received his Ed. Leadership degree from the University of Mississippi, is NISL certified and received an honorary degree from Mississippi State University in conjunction with his work with high school FFAs.

At the end of life’s journey, let us be certain our greatest failure is not that we succeeded at many things which never really mattered.

Bonnie Owen

Mrs. Owen has 30 years of experience in education. She earned her Master’s Degree from University of MS and has hours toward Specialist. She has taught in the general education classrooms as well as special education classrooms. She has served as an Assistant Principal and Principal, District Director of Special Education, Gifted, 504, and Federal Programs which include EL, Migrant, and Homeless. Area of expertise: School leadership, Special Education policy and procedures, IEPs, Assisting in monitoring for both Special Education and Federal Programs, Classroom Management, Teacher Improvement, Data, Federal Programs policy and procedures.

I don’t need easy, I need possible.
– Bethany Hamilton

Jeanne Park

Ms. Park is an educator with over 25 years of experience in the public school systems in Mississippi. She has served as a teacher, both in elementary and middle school, Assistant Principal, Principal, Literacy Specialist, and Lead School Improvement Coach with Mississippi Department of Education. Mrs. Park graduated from Mississippi College and the University of Southern Mississippi. She holds certification in the areas of Elementary Education, Special Education, Science, and Educational Administration.

The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.
– B.B. King

Julie Riales

Dr. Riales has an earned doctorate degree from The University of Mississippi in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in secondary mathematics. She also has a master’s degree in mathematics from The University of Mississippi. Dr. Riales has 28 years of experience working in mathematics education including instruction from middle school to college-level mathematics and teacher preparation classes in both faceto face and online formats; coaching teams of teachers in planning, instructing, and assessing students for success; providing assistance for struggling learners; planning and providing meaningful professional developments; training teachers in assessment writing; and item writing and review at district level as well as for Questar and Educational Testing Services. She is also experienced with online instruction, learning management systems, dynamic online tools for promoting mathematics understanding, and the online Desmos calculator that will be allowed on the MS MAAP Algebra I test.

Good, better, best.  Never it rest, ’til your good is better and your better is best!

Lisa White

Dr. White has 25 years of experience in public education in Mississippi, with 11 years in the classroom and 14 years in administrative roles. She has served as a special education teacher, high school math teacher, and FLE/ACT prep teacher; at the district level, she has served in the roles of Assistant Superintendent, SpEd Director, Federal Programs Director, District Test Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator, EL Coordinator, MTSS/TST Coordinator, Personnel Director, Professional Development Coordinator, Teacher Mentoring Program Director, Intervention Specialist, Behavior Specialist, and Project Director for the 21st CCLC afterschool program. Dr. White worked 5 ½ years at the Mississippi Department of Education as an Educator in Residence, coordinating the Mississippi Principal Evaluation System (MPES), the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), and a variety of other projects. While at MDE, she provided professional development to schools and districts all over the state, supervised literacy coaches all over Mississippi, led the team of professionals who developed a teacher observation draft for SpEd teachers, developed and taught online courses in Canvas, and served on several state and national committees. She currently serves on the Board of Learning Forward MS and the Mississippi Association of School Administrators (MASA) and is a member of Mississippi’s Teaching and Leading Solutions Group (TLSG) as well as Mississippi’s Advancing Inclusive Principal Leadership (AIPL) team.

If you can’t be the light, be the match.  You may not be the candle to illuminate the room, but your spark can be the source of its light.
– Author unknown

Dr. Brian Buckhalter

Brian “Dr. Buck” Buckhalter brings almost 15 years of experience in the world of K-12 education as a classroom teacher, district mathematics coach, and professional development facilitator. As a former Graduate Research Fellow for the Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CMSE) at The University of Mississippi, he helped establish professional learning communities across several school districts in North Mississippi. He has also developed and/or facilitated professional learning opportunities and materials for the Mississippi Department of Education and the North Mississippi Education Consortium. In 2017, he founded Buck Wild About Math, LLC to continue providing quality professional development and consulting for schools and school districts.

Under his leadership as a mathematics coach, the Oxford School District’s three elementary schools ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the state for mathematics growth for the 2017-2018 school year. Most recently, he was invited to deliver the keynote address to more than 700 attendees at the 2019 MECA Annual Conference in Jackson, MS. He has presented at numerous conferences on local, state, and national levels, covering a wide range of topics such as advice for beginning coaches, best practices with formative assessment, and addressing student misconceptions. He remains active in several professional organizations, such as the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM), where he serves as both the Regional Team Leader for Mississippi and the Associate Journal Editor, and the Mississippi Mathematics Specialist Network (MSMSN) where he currently serves as president.

Some of Dr. Buck’s accolades include Oxford Middle School Teacher of the Year (2010), Oxford School District Teacher of the Year (2010), T.P. Vinson Educator Award (2011), Inspirational Teacher Award (2013), University of Mississippi School of Education Student of the Month (2013), NCSM Spotlight Member (2018), and the Griffin Family Education IMPACT Award (2019).

Dr. Buck received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Dillard University in New Orleans, LA, and both his masters and doctoral degrees in Teacher Education from the University of Mississippi.

“The best is yet to come”
– Author unknown