Kim Benton, interim state superintendent of education. Credit: Mississippi Department of Education

On Thursday, the Mississippi State Board of Education announced Kim Benton as the interim state superintendent following the retirement of State Superintendent Carey Wright on June 30. 

Benton currently serves as the interim chief academic officer, a position she previously held for six years before retiring from the agency in 2018. She has worked in public education in Mississippi for 40 years as a teacher’s assistant, teacher, principal, and executive director of special populations and federal programs in the Meridian Public School District. 

“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 Rosemary Aultman, chair of the State Board of Education. “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.”

The Board also announced the formation of the superintendent search subcommittee, which will be responsible for reviewing proposals from consulting firms to lead the search for the new superintendent. The formal call for proposals will be issued on June 1, and a consulting firm will be selected by July 1 and begin interviewing candidates in the fall.


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Julia James is Mississippi Today's poverty and breaking news reporter. A native of Mandeville, Louisiana, James recently completed an investigative reporting internship with Mississippi Today. In that role, she closely covered the sprawling welfare scandal and public education. She will continue that work, as well as working closely with Mississippi Today’s breaking news team. James is a 2021 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she studied journalism and public policy and was in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She has been published in The New York Times, Mississippi Today, and Clarion Ledger.