Speaker taps Tupelo native for Board of Education

Education stockBy Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, announced Monday the appointment of former Clinton Mayor Rosemary Aultman – a Tupelo native – to the Mississippi Board of Education, filling a slot previously held by Martha “Jackie” Murphy of Rienzi.

The term of Murphy, appointed by former House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, ended in June. Gunn originally had nominated Joel Bomgar of Madison, owner of a Ridgeland-based computer software company, to replace Murphy, but he was rejected during the 2013 session by the Senate Education Committee.

With that rejection, Gunn started a new search that concluded with the nomination of Aultman, who served 20 years as the mayor of Clinton. Aultman, the former Rosemary Gibens of Tupelo, will serve the remainder of the year on the Board.

If she stays on the Board for the full nine-year term, she will face Senate confirmation in 2014.

“I am pleased to appoint Mrs. Aultman to serve the remainder of this year on the Mississippi State Board of Education,” said Gunn. “She and I worked together when I served on the Clinton School Board. I know and support her beliefs about education in Mississippi. I am deeply grateful for her willingness to serve for the remainder of this year as we further discuss the appointment to the board as well as the future of the education system in our state.”

Aultman’s appointment means she will be on the Board when it selects a new superintendent of education later this year and works to enact several new initiatives, such as the third-grade reading gate, requiring most children to read on grade level before advancing to the fourth grade.

With the end of Murphy’s tenure, only one woman – Kami Bumgarner of Madison – had remained on the nine-member state Board.

Both the speaker and lieutenant governor have two appointments to the Board while the governor has five.

bobby.harrison@journalinc.com