Dr. Chuck Benigno is currently an associate professor at William Carey University. Prior to this position, Dr. Benigno was the superintendent of the Laurel Schools and has also served as vice president for Student Services at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and principal of North Forrest High School and West Jones Middle School.  He has been named Who’s Who Among American Teachers, Coach of the Year, and was the 2014 Mississippi “Superintendent of the Year”. Dr. Benigno was a participant in the Project Zero Classroom at Harvard University and is the author of Teaching: Excellence or Survival? He has served as a motivational speaker for schools across the Southeast and his passion lies in helping people reach their fullest potential.


Dr. Kim Benton is an assistant professor at William Carey University and trainer for the Academic Development Institute (ADI).  She has worked in public education in Mississippi for 37 years. She began her work in education as a teacher’s assistant and spent her career in the Meridian Public School District as a teacher, principal and executive director of special populations and federal programs before joining the MS Department of Education in 2010. In 2013, she was appointed to the position of Chief Academic Officer / Chief Deputy Superintendent and served in that capacity until her retirement in June 2018. At the MDE, Dr. Benton oversaw the launch of the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, implementation of college and career-ready standards, the Literacy-Based Promotion Act and the Early Learning Collaborative Act, on-demand professional development for schools and districts, and was instrumental in advancing the State Board of Education’s Strategic Plan. In addition to her work in PK-12, she has served as an adjunct instructor for Mississippi State University and the University of West Alabama teaching courses in leadership and curriculum and instruction. She has served in a variety leadership of roles within state and national organizations.


Dr. Ben Burnett is the Acting Executive Vice-President and the Dean of the School of Education at William Carey University. He began his tenure as Dean of the William Carey University in 2014. His service to the field of education began in 1986 and since that time he has worked with the students of south Mississippi as a band director, middle school principal, and superintendent of education. Dr. Burnett is a faculty member in the William Carey School of Education where he teaches School Law and Data-Driven Decision Making. He also serves as the Executive Director for the Program for Research and Evaluation of Public Schools (PREPS), a state-wide non-profit consortium of public schools in Mississippi. 


Dr. Wanda Maulding Greenis an educational leadership faculty member at the University of South Alabama.  She has served in K-12 leadership roles as a classroom teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal in K-12 schools in Mississippi and Texas. Additionally, in higher education, she has led as a department chair, associate dean, college dean, and university assistant vice president for accreditation. She and Dr. Leonard are co-authors of six books on leadership.

Dr. Edward Leonard is a retired educational administrator who served 30 years in the public schools of Mississippi.   He has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent (Picayune School District), and superintendent of education (Forest Municipal School District).  He has also served as Director of Student Life at William Carey University and done extensive adjunct work for the University of Southern Mississippi, Southeastern Louisiana University, William Carey University, and the University of South Alabama.  He is currently employed as a part-time assistant professor of education at William Carey University.


Dr. Patti Permenter is an assistant professor at William Carey University and the associate director of the Program Research and Evaluation of Public Schools (PREPS).  She specializes in working with school leaders and teachers to find innovative ways to transform leading and learning. She achieved National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist and focuses her research and consulting with rural Mississippi and areas of poverty.  She helped to form the Mississippi Rural Education Association (MsREA), which is housed with PREPS.  In addition to serving on the Mississippi Early Childhood Association (MsECA) board of directors, she also serves on the Southeast Mississippi United Way Education Board.