In the latest step forward for Jackson Public Schools, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba nominated four members for the district’s school board.

The nominees are Ed Sivak, Letitia Simmons-Johnson, Barbara Hilliard and Jeanne Hairston.

Sivak is  a senior vice president at Hope Enterprise Corp. Simmons-Johnson, an attorney, previously served on the JPS board, Lumumba’s first and only appointee.

Hilliard is an International Baccalaureate coordinator at the Jackson school district. Dr. Hairston has held several positions in higher education, including at Millsaps College and JPS.

The city council will consider the appointments at a special called meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m. The agenda for the special meeting includes five nominees, but City of Jackson communications manager Kai Williams clarified that Robert Luckett was included by mistake.

If confirmed, the board will have a quorum. Four members are necessary to conduct business, but a full school board is comprised of one from each of the city’s seven wards.

The four previous members willingly resigned as a part of the partnership between the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, governor’s office, and City of Jackson. Simmons-Johnson was the only member who was re-nominated.

Sivak was recently named to the “Better Together Commission,” which is a component of the recently unveiled “third option” for the school district. The commission will host public meetings and issue a request for proposal for an outside entity to do an in-depth evaluation of the district.


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Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her four years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor. Kayleigh has a bachelor’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media from the University of Mississippi. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal. She has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.