By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Andy Mullins, who has worked to improve public education in Mississippi for more than 40 years, announced on Friday he will retire as chief of staff to University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones.
His retirement is effective June 30, but he will continue to teach graduate students in the university’s School of Education and to lead the Mississippi Teacher Corps program.
“Andy Mullins has been untiring in his career-long commitment to education, whether as a classroom K-12 teacher, a college professor, an author, a highly-respected adviser or an innovator focused on giving Mississippians a better chance at success through better education,” Jones said in a university press release.
“His career accomplishments have been truly extraordinary, but just as important has been the example he set for those who choose a career in public service. He set incredibly high goals, and he was unswerving in his commitment to achieving them.”
Mullins has served as a special assistant to two governors and three state superintendents of education and has been a member of the Ole Miss administration since 1994. His career began as a school teacher at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Jackson in 1970, and he taught for eight years before joining then-Gov. William Winter’s staff in 1980 as special assistant for education.
Mullins was a member of the “Boys of Spring,” a name given to Winter’s staff members who helped get Mississippi’s 1982 Education Reform Act passed.
“Andy Mullins is one of the most creative and visionary teachers and public servants I have ever known,” Winter said in the press release. “I leaned on him heavily when we were developing the Education Reform Act of 1982 and getting it passed. He just had a special way of relating with members of the Legislature.”
At Ole Miss, he has worked with three chancellors during a period of significant enrollment growth, dramatic changes in the funding of higher education and the university’s biggest public event ever, the 2008 presidential debate.