Three from JCJC graduate from the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address:
Date Submitted: 2018-06-14 20:46:52

ELLISVILLE – Three Jones County Junior College administration and faculty members were part of the ninth class of the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy. JCJC’s Director of Human Resources, Luke Hammonds of Laurel, Assistant Director and instructor of Emergency Medical Services , Eric Williams, MS, NR-P, and from Wayne County, JCJC Bobcat Math League Commissioner and math instructor, Dr. Jessica Bunch and their 34 additional classmates bring the total number of graduates of the MCCLA since its inception to 312.  These MCCLA graduates are the state’s answer to preparing and filling the community college’s leadership needs. JCJC’s newest three and previous 16 MCCLA graduates, who were recommended by JCJC President Dr. Jesse Smith to participate in this program are poised to assume leadership roles in higher education.

“These graduates possess leadership qualities that have already helped Jones and now, they are better equipped to handle the future needs of education. We’re equipping them with the tools they’ll need to be better instructors with the possibility of growing into future leadership roles,” said JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith.

According to the MCCLA organization’s researchers, a leadership crisis within the nation’s community colleges is inevitable. Its professional development training for leadership roles helps to ensure the continuity of solid leadership for higher education in Mississippi. All 15 of Mississippi’s community colleges and several universities send at least two candidates to the year-long program where leaders meet for three, two day-long sessions. Participants are also required to read seven books and work with a group on a research project.  Laurel’s Luke Hammonds said he is thankful Dr. Smith gave him the opportunity to attend MCCLA.

“The MCCLA program provides the participant an inside look at how the Community College system in Mississippi has developed into a world-class educational system. We were given access to an open-forum with today’s President’s in which they shared their views, advice, and experiences. The training offered in leadership, communication, and synergistic teamwork was invaluable! I've grown tremendously through this experience personally and professionally. I will use everything I learned to add value to our campus.”

Bay Springs’, Eric Williams acknowledged the lessons learned from past and present college leaders, Dr. Smith especially, were truly a “once in a lifetime experience.”

“The MCCLA was a great experience and I am so appreciative of Jones’ involvement. The leadership and administrative skills that we learned can be applied to our individual divisions as well as the institution and community as a whole.  There can be no doubt that Jones has invested heavily in seeing their faculty, educational programs, and reputation of excellence, grow not just for today, but for many years to come.”

Dr. Bunch has been in a leadership role as the JCJC Bobcat Math League Commissioner for 10 years but said training for an administrative role in education presents more challenges and opportunities.

“Along with my JCJC colleagues, Luke Hammonds and Eric Williams, we became a part of something that I believe will continue to mold us into individuals that will be effective at every level of our positions at JCJC.  At each meeting of the Academy, we learned from our colleagues from across the state, from the experiences of our leader (Dr. Howell Garner), and from our special guests -- distinguished community college leaders from across the state.  My participation in this year’s MCCLA has been a venture unparalleled by any other I have been a part of, and I will value and treasure the knowledge and experience of being a part of the Academy.  I feel as though my participation in the MCCLA will afford me the ability to grow as a community college instructor, colleague, and leader,” said Dr. Bunch.

Besides professional and leadership development, graduates can earn up to nine-college graduate credits in the Education Leadership program at Mississippi State University, which is also a sponsor of the MCCLA.  Other colleges and universities also accept these credits in their doctoral programs. The Academy was designed and implemented by the Mississippi Community College Foundation with support from the Stennis Institute of Government at MSU as a method of addressing the need for a leadership succession plan.

JCJC Graduates of the MCCLA

Shannon Campbell                  1st class

Samuel Jones                         1st class

Brad Harrison                         2nd class

Candace Weaver                     2nd class

Clint James                            3rd class

Andrew Sharp                         3rd class

Brian Ginn                              4th class

Eric Shows                              4th class

Greg Butler                             5th class

Rod Tolbert                             5th class

Mark Taylor                             6th class

Jason Dedwylder                      6th class

Daryll McDonald                       7th class

Gary Suddith                            7th class

Jennifer Griffith                         8th class

Kyle Upchurch                          8th class

Jessica Bunch                           9th class

Luke Hammonds                      9th class

Eric Williams                            9th class


Incoming Class:

Julie Atwood                          10th class

Teresa McDonald                    10th class

Mandy Pearson                       10th class

Michael Yarbrough                 10th class



More News