Alumnus to lead Mississippi School for Math and Science

April 23, 2022 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The educator chosen to lead the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science was a member of the school’s first graduating class in 1990.

The state Board of Education voted Thursday to hire Donald Cook as executive director of the residential public high school that provides an accelerated curriculum for high school juniors and seniors. He begins June 1 at the school, which is on the campus of Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.

Germain McConnell had been executive director of MSMS for eight years. He left Jan. 1 to become chief of staff for the Oxford School District. The interim director of MSMS has been Rick Smith.

Cook earned a bachelor’s in psychology/ pre-med from Mississippi State University in 1994, a master’s in science education from Mississippi College in 1997 and a doctorate in education from Liberty University in 2018.

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He began his education career in 1996 as a chemistry/physics teacher at Northwest Rankin Attendance Center in Brandon. He later returned to MSMS as a chemistry instructor, resident adviser and assistant resident hall director.

He is currently an instructor at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika, Alabama, and is a science teacher at Newnan High School in Newnan, Georgia.

Cook was department chair and professor of science and mathematics at Point University in West Point, Georgia, from 2011 to 2021. He has designed a curriculum framework for Advanced Placement physics and created online science courses and labs.