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Education

State Board of Education names Donald Cook executive director of MSMS

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Dr. Donnie Cook
Dr. Donnie Cook (credit: MSMS)

The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted Thursday to hire Donald Cook, Ed.D., as the executive director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS).

As MSMS executive director, Cook’s responsibilities will include overseeing all operations, functions and activities at MSMS, including coordinating long- and short-range planning, development and implementation of policies; and providing direction for financial, personnel, academic, admissions and student services matters.

Cook is a 1990 graduate of MSMS’s inaugural class. He received 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.

Cook began his education career in 1996 as a chemistry/physics teacher at Northwest Rankin Attendance Center in Brandon, Mississippi. He later returned to MSMS serving in a variety of roles, including chemistry instructor, resident advisor and assistant resident hall director. Currently, he works as an instructor at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika, Alabama, and is a science teacher at Newman High School in Newman, Georgia.

Cook served as department chair and associate professor of science and mathematics at Point University in West Point, Georgia, from 2011-2021 where he was responsible for oversight of department level systems, processes, personnel, schedules and student advisement. His additional expertise includes designing an advanced curriculum framework for Advanced Placement (AP) physics, designing curriculum for competency-based courses, and creating on-line science courses and labs.

The MDE oversees MSMS, a residential public high school located on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. MSMS provides an accelerated, immersive curriculum for the state’s gifted and talented 11th and 12th grade students. The school’s interim executive director is Rick Smith.

Cook will begin his role as executive director June 1, 2022.

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