Dr. Robert Taylor

The Deputy State Superintendent from North Carolina is a graduate of USM. He’ll take over in January 2023.

The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) held a special-called meeting on Monday for the stated purpose of interviewing the finalists for the position of State Superintendent.

However, the board finalized their search for a new State Superintendent and made their selection known later in the day.

Dr. Robert Taylor, a 30-year veteran educator and deputy state superintendent for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, has been named Mississippi’s new state superintendent of education. He is a native Mississippian and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi.

The SBE selected Dr. Taylor after conducting a national search. He will lead the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) starting in late January 2023.

“Dr. Taylor possesses all the qualities the Board sought for the next state superintendent of education. He brings extensive leadership experience at the school, district and state levels and the skill and commitment needed to continuously improve student achievement statewide,” SBE Chair Rosemary Aultman said. “Mississippi has become a national leader for improving student outcomes. The Board is confident we selected the right person to lead our state to achieve at even higher levels.”

According to the SBE, Dr. Taylor has served as an adviser to the schools of education at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Fayetteville State University, where he earned both his Master’s of School Administration and Doctorate in Educational Leadership. During his 10-year tenure as a district superintendent, Dr. Taylor was selected for numerous state roles including an assessment task force that drafted new legislation for statewide student assessment, the governor’s superintendent advisory council and state board and higher education advisory boards. He currently serves as the governor’s appointee on North Carolina’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Dr. Carey Wright announced her retirement in April 2022 and officially stepped down as the Mississippi State Superintendent in June 2022 after serving in that role since 2013.

Dr. Kim Benton was named the interim State Superintendent until a permanent replacement was named.

READ MORE: Mississippi State Supt. of Education Carey Wright announces retirement

The meeting was held at the Butler Snow building in Ridgeland.

Below is a statement from Dr. Robert Taylor provided by the SBE:

“The task of selecting a State Superintendent of Education is perhaps the most difficult task of a State Board, and my family and I thank the Mississippi State Board of Education immensely for offering me the opportunity to lead public education. Mississippi has made tremendous strides in literacy and our goal as a state should be to continue this growth and refine the work that has produced such great results.

“I look forward to working with local school districts, superintendents, and their school staff in identifying barriers to success. The MDE will continue its support of local districts, working to expand our efforts to support the work that makes children college and career ready. Many districts produce outstanding student results, and I welcome the opportunity to examine this work and develop pathways for all schools and districts to share successful work.

“The work of producing legislation to support schools resides with our Legislature and Governor, and I along with the State Board of Education, look forward to collaborating on legislative issues that will benefit our entire state. My goal will be to offer effective legislative ideas that we all recognize will benefit student growth.

“Our parents expect the best from us as educators, and I will work tirelessly to meet this goal. As always, parents should have the loudest voice regarding the education of their children, and as State Superintendent you will have my listening ear.

“The opportunity to return home to Mississippi and work hand in hand with all stakeholders to improve education is perhaps the pinnacle of one’s career. This opportunity has been afforded to my family and I and we look forward to our homecoming.”