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Gulfport's Kelly named to state education board

JACKSON – Gov. Haley Barbour today announced the appointment of John R. Kelly to the Mississippi State Board of Education. Kelly’s term begins July 1, and he must be confirmed by the State Senate. The term expires June 30, 2020.

The Board, which is designed to manage and invest school funds and to formulate education policies, is comprised of nine members appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Dr. Kelly’s broad range of experience will be an asset to the Board of Education,” Gov. Barbour said. “Education is the No. 1 economic development and quality of life issue in our state, and Dr. Kelly’s service will be vital in helping shape our education initiatives for the future.”

Kelly is Gulfport’s chief administrative officer and oversees the day-to-day operations of city departments. He has served in the position since 2006.

“Dr. Kelly has long been recognized as a community leader throughout his career and in the Gulf Coast area. We look forward to him being a member of the Board of Education as we continue our focus on creating a world class education system in Mississippi,” said Dr. Tom Burnham, State Superintendent of Education.

Kelly, a Utica native, previously served as municipal court administrator in Gulfport. He also has worked as regional director for community and family support with Navy Region Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida. Kelly held several positions at the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service at Mississippi State University. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus where he taught courses in sociology, social psychology and criminal justice.

Kelly was recently chosen as one of the Gulf Coast’s Outstanding Community Leaders by the Sun Herald. He served as chairman of the National Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society and was president and chief volunteer officer for the United Way of South Mississippi. He also has served as president of the Gulfport Job Corps Center and chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Gulf Coast Medical Center.

Kelly received a bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University, a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is chairman of the Board of Deacons at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. Kelly and his wife, Bernell, have two daughters, Felice and Kristi, and one granddaughter.

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