Mississippi's Interim Deputy To Be Interim Superintendent

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Education Department’s interim chief academic officer and deputy superintendent will become interim superintendent at the end of June, the State Board of Education said Thursday.

Kim Benton will take the higher interim post when Superintendent Carey Wright retires on June 30 after more than eight years, according to a news release.

“Dr. Benton has worked alongside Dr. Wright during most of her tenure and has been instrumental in helping to lead the state’s successful education reform efforts,” said board chair Rosemary Aultman. “The Board is confident Dr. Benton will continue the progress we have made in public education over the past decade as we begin the search for a permanent state superintendent.”

Benton has more than 40 years in public education, starting as a teacher’s assistant and working up to executive director of special populations and federal programs in the Meridian Public School District.

She was the state education department's chief academic officer for six years, retired in 2018, and became a consultant and trainer. She also was an associate professor in educational leadership at William Carey University and interim superintendent for the Mississippi Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

Benton returned to the state last November as interim chief academic officer.

The board said it intends to select a search firm by July 1 and begin interviewing candidates in the fall for a permanent superintendent.