By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
Brothers Jim and Claiborne Barksdale were chosen by the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education for its annual Winter-Reed Partnership Award.
The recognition, which honors former Gov. William Winter and Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Sr., is presented to individuals for lifetime contributions to public education. The Barksdales will be honored during a Sept. 10 dinner at the Jackson Convention Center.
They were responsible for opening and operating The Barksdale Reading Institute in Oxford. The institute, which partners with the Mississippi Department of Education and the state’s public universities, seeks to improve reading skills of the state’s children from birth to third grade.
Jim Barksdale, a longtime international business leader, currently serves as chairman of the board and president of Barksdale Management Corporation, a philanthropic investment company. He donated $100 million to the state in 2000 to establish the institute.
Claiborne Barksdale has served as chief executive officer since the institute’s founding.
“The Barksdales have promoted the importance of early childhood literacy and provided resources to Mississippi’s public schools to ensure that our children are better prepared for the future,” said MAPE incoming President Michael Bentley. “They truly embody the spirit of the Winter-Reed Award through their efforts on behalf of all Mississippians to help build a brighter future for our state by improving public education.”
The Winter-Reed Partnership Award was established in 2007. Past recipients include state Rep. Robert Clark, former Winter gubernatorial staffers collectively known as “The Boys of Spring,” Cathy Grace and the late state Sen. Grey Ferris.
“No one has done more for public education in Mississippi than William Winter and Jack Reed,” Jim Barksdale said. “Mississippi is eternally indebted to them. Receiving this honor is very gratifying.”
Individual tickets for the awards banquet are $75 and may be purchased online at www.mapie.org.