WHEF, MHEAC welcome new board members

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Dr. Michael Highfield, Carla Kirkland, and Mayor Errick D. Simmons

JANS – The Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) and the Mississippi Higher Education Assistance Corporation (MHEAC) have added three new board members following their recent annual meeting. Joining the boards of WHEF and MHEAC are Dr. Michael Highfield, Carla Kirkland, and Mayor Errick D. Simmons. These incoming leaders succeed retiring board member Andy Mullins, who dedicated a decade of service to the organization. WHEF recently honored Mullins for his board tenure and his distinguished 43-year career in education in Mississippi.

“We are thrilled about the diverse expertise our new board members bring to this organization,” said CEO and President Jim McHale. “Their backgrounds in institutional administration, education consulting, and municipal leadership will be invaluable as we advance into the second year of our strategic plan with renewed and innovative leadership.”

Dr. Michael (Mike) Highfield is the Provost and Executive Vice President, the Dean of the Graduate School, and a Professor of Finance at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. He earned his BBA and MBA from Mississippi State University before earning an MS in Economics and Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Kentucky. Highfield began his career as a member of the finance faculty at Louisiana Tech University (2002-2005) before joining the faculty at Mississippi State University (2005-2023).

Highfield holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation from the CFA Institute, the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation from the Association for Financial Professionals, and the Chartered Banking Professional (ChBP) designation from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.

Carla Kirkland is the founder and CEO of The Kirkland Group, an educational consulting firm that provides professional development, technical assistance, and test preparation to school districts. She has served as a teacher, curriculum specialist, and mentor in Mathematics. She is chair of the Alcorn Women’s Business Center and co-chair of the Alcorn State University Foundation Board.

Kirkland is a graduate of Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program which helps entrepreneurial leaders. She has been recognized by the Girl Scouts of America, MS as a 2022 Women of Distinction Laureate and by her alma mater as one of Alcorn’s 2022 Women of Courage honorees and a Mississippi Honors 2024 Most Influential African Americans in Mississippi.

Mayor Errick D. Simmons, Esq. of Greenville is a global municipal leader known by mayors across the country. After a historic landslide win for mayor in 2015, Mayor Simmons began his third term as mayor on January 2, 2024. Before returning home to Greenville to start his legal and municipal government career, Mayor Simmons, along with his twin brother and law partner, Mississippi State Senate Minority Leader Senator Derrick T. Simmons, graduated from Jackson State University and Howard University. Under his administration as mayor, Greenville has announced more than $650 million in local, state, federal, and corporate investments with a historic number of new business openings with the unprecedented growth of small, women-owned and minority businesses, a highlight that garnered the attention of the Biden-Harris Administration in April 2022 with a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Throughout his tenure, Mayor Simmons has championed social justice and equity with innovative programs in affordable housing, restorative justice and re-entry, education and college access, healthcare, workforce development, climate equity, and food security.

For more information about WHEF, its board members, and initiatives, visit woodwardhines.org.

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WHEF, MHEAC welcome new board members

By Jackson Advocate News Service
July 11, 2024