By Chris Kieffer
JACKSON – Danny Spreitler, executive director of the Monroe County Gilmore Foundation in Amory, was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday to serve on the State Board of Education.
Bryant also appointed Johnny Franklin of Bolton. Each will serve unexpired terms of outgoing members, and both appointments must be confirmed by the State Senate.
“It is very humbling,” said Spreitler, the former president and chief executive officer of The Gilmore Memorial Hospital.
Spreitler will fill the term of Hernando’s Simon Weir for the State Supreme Court District 3. His term will expire on June 30, 2021. Franklin replaces Hal Gage of Vicksburg for the State Supreme Court District 1, and his term will expire on June 30, 2016.
In his work with the Gilmore Foundation, Spreitler has worked closely with the county’s four school districts. He also has been integral in the development of the Gilmore Early Learning Initiative, widely recognized as being among the top pre-kindergarten programs in the state.
Asked if there were issues he is focused upon as he begins his service, Spreitler said he wants to be open-minded and not have an agenda. He is concerned, however, with the large number of days schools spend on testing. On pre-K, he wants to study more data before advocating a particular approach. However, he does not favor universal pre-K with all 4-year-old programs only offered in public schools.
“Our child care centers in Mississippi are economic engines so we need to have a blended model between private centers, Head Starts and public programs,” he said.
Franklin also serves on the state Charter School Board and will remain on that board. Both Spreitler and Franklin will remain on the State Early Childhood Advisory Council.
Franklin is a former teacher, coach and administrator who also has worked for the Mississippi Department of Education and has served as education policy adviser to Bryant and former governor Haley Barbour.
The State Board of Education oversees policy for the Department of Education, and Board members appoint the State Superintendent of Education.