Principals' Institute

Millsaps College Principals' Institute, Learning and Leadership since 1993

Empowered to Lead and to Learn


Hear from principals who've experienced the Principals' Institute...

The Millsaps College Principals' Institute began because of the vision of a group of Mississippi principals who attended the Harvard Principals' Summer Institute. They wanted a similar experience available for principals closer to home. Dr. Jeanne Middleton-Hairston, professor in the Department of Education at Millsaps, explored funding possibilities and in November 1992 the Institute was awarded charter grants from BellSouth Foundation, Mississippi Power Education Foundation, and The Phil Hardin Foundation. The first Summer Institute was held in July 1993.

2016 Principals' Institute Participants


Our Mission

The Principals' Institute, housed in the Education Department at Millsaps College, is committed to the personal and professional growth of principals as educational leaders in order to improve the quality of education, increase support of school principals and benefit all children in our schools.



Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 One-Day Workshops

All workshops are 9am - 4:30pm
Registration begins at 8am

Workshop A - "Putting the Pieces Together: Preventing Schools from Being Data-Rich But Information Poor"

September 21, 2017

Presenter: Dr. Tim Martin, Superintendent, Clinton Public Schools

Participants will be exposed to what it means to be a data-driven school or district. Real world experience along with research-based insight will be shared to give a deep understanding of the accountability process in Mississippi. Hands-on practice will also be utilized to allow participants the opportunity to analyze, prioritize and create an improvement plan from simulated data. School leaders will also review their current plans of improvement to determine whether the strategic planning process in place is a tool that will improve student achievement (actions that add value) or an end in itself. Administrators will be presented with strategies for consistent monitoring and evaluation of these plans and most importantly, leaders will become confident in the implementation of their strategic plans with the confidence that their professional practices truly will influence student achievement.


Workshop B - "Professional Learning Communities & Creating Formative Assessments”

October 12, 2017

Presenter: Torrey Hampton, Principal, Yazoo City Schools

Hampton will provide participants with hands-on strategies for building professional learning communities, developing collegial relationships, and creating formative assessments to improve instruction. Instructional best practices will be introduced using current methods for supporting students and effectively closing the achievement gap. Administrators will acquire skills to effectively evaluate formative assessment administration by teachers in classrooms. Administrators will also acquire skills to works with teachers on developing effective formative assessments for use in all subject areas.


Workshop C - "Developing a Culture of Excellence"

November 9, 2017

Presenter: Charlotte Seals, Assistant Superintendent, Madison City Schools

Participants will discover the critical elements for creating and sustaining a culture of excellence within the school. Learn about school culture and staff culture, two important aspects that are critical ingredients for building academic success. Seals will provide a hands-on experience for participants in which each will be able to evaluate a school environment and use effective strategies to make changes for improvement.


Workshop D - “Becoming a Leader, Not Just a Principal”

December 7, 2017

Presenter: Dr. Lynnette McNeil, Principal, Rankin County Schools

Dr. McNeil will address the role of the principal as a leader of leaders. Being a leader is so much more than just a position. Leaders play pivotal roles in the lives of others, and as leaders in our schools, it is up to us to develop relationships, expectations, and procedures that help guide and build our students' and faculty's capacity for success. The model we set for others sets the stage for eventual success or failure, influencing the lives of everyone around us.


Workshop E - "Crucial Conversations with Teachers to Improve Instruction and Student Achievement"

January 11, 2018

Presenter: Dr. Donna Boone, Superintendent, Forrest County Agricultural High School District on the Advisory Board

Dr. Boone will assist administrators with understanding the definition of a crucial conversation, identifying the skills needed to have a crucial conversation, and how to handle a conversation that turns crucial. She will assist administrators on how to have conversations with teachers based on teacher practices and skills that affect student achievement by improving instruction. Administrators will be given instruction on how to develop teacher improvement plans that can be applied in their school setting.


Workshop F - “Legal Issues in Schools”

February 15, 2018

Presenter: Jim Keith, Attorney, Adams and Reese, LLP

Keith will assist administrators in making legally informed decisions regarding the day-to-day operations in schools. Participants will be able to develop skills to manage and handle parent conferences, teacher situations, parent-teacher situations, principal-teacher, and teacher-student situations effectively and within the legal boundaries required. A question and answer time will be provided to cover issues related to individual school districts. Participants will develop a plan to implement in their schools using this legal advice to address any individual school concerns.


Workshop Goals 

At the completion of a workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. develop evidenced based strategies to enhance student learning in their own school as evidenced on student assessment reports
  2. develop evidence based strategies to facilitate effective change in the school climate for optimal learning
  3. acquire skills that will close the achievement gap for all students
  4.  acquire skills needed to create an optimal learning environment for diverse learners
  5. acquire skills needed to build a capacity of student learning by motivating teachers and students
  6. acquire skills needed to make legally informed decisions of day-to-day school operations 


Workshop Speakers

Dr. Tim Martin

Dr. Tim Martin is the Assistant Superintendent of the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, MS. He previously served as a principal and assistant principal at the middle school level in Clinton, Jackson Public and Grenada School Districts. His teaching experience was at the middle school level teaching social studies. His school district has consistently remained at the highest academic level in the state for many years partially due to his leadership. He is a former participant of the Millsaps Principals’ Institute of 1997.


Torrey Hampton

Mr. Hampton is a husband of 5 years and a father of three children. Two are in college and one is first grade. Mr. Hampton is from Tchula, Ms ( Delta) where he graduated from S. V. Marshall High School in 1995. After graduating from high school, he attended Alcorn State University from 1995-1999. Once his undergraduate education was done, he attended Mississippi State University. His teaching career began in the Holmes County School System as a fifth grade self-contained teacher. During his time there, he also taught sixth grade mathematics as well. In 2002, he began working in Jackson Public Schools, at Blackburn Middle. While at Blackburn, he was one of the sixth grade team leaders, math teacher, mathematics department chair, head boys basketball and track coach, and SES Coordinator. Mr. Hampton served seventeen years in the Mississippi Army National Guard. He was honorably discharged in 2011 as a Captain. In July of 2013, Mr. Hampton became Assistant Principal at Forest Hill High School, where he served as Academy Principal and Athletic Director. In January 2016, Mr. Hampton became principal at McCoy Elementary in the Yazoo City Municipal School District until July 2016. Mr. Hampton is principal at Woolfolk Middle School.


Charlotte Seals

Currently, Ms. Seals serves as Associate Superintendent of the Madison County School District, where she has been for 27 years. Previously, she has taught high school and middle school science as well as the roles of assistant principal and principal at the middle and elementary levels. She has a vast array of knowledge in the K-12 learning environment which she willingly shares with other educators across the state. She is proud to be a graduate of Millsaps College and has served on the Millsaps Principals’ Institute Advisory Board for many years. In addition to these responsibilities, she is a wife and mother to two precious children.


Dr. Lynnette McNeil

Dr McNeil is the principal at Oakdale Elementary School in Brandon, Miss., where she and her family reside. She is currently in school at Ole Miss and is an Aspire instructor at Belhaven College. She is also a former middle and high school language arts teacher and instructional specialist in her district where her charge was helping teachers to enhance their instruction in order to effectively teach the curriculum. As a former National Board assessor, current National Board certified teacher, and a former participant in the Millsaps Principals' Institute, she knows firsthand how valuable and worthwhile professional development opportunities like this institute can be in an individual's professional growth as an educator/administrator. As a current administrator, she experiences and understands some of the same issues most other principals do, and her goal for each participant this week is that each person leaves with a multitude of ideas to implement into and to enhance his or her professional development plan for the upcoming school year because she believes it truly makes a difference.


Dr. Donna Boone

Donna Boone is the superintendent for the Forrest County Agricultural High School District and is also on the Advisory Board. She has held positions in education across K-16 in Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. She has served as a teacher, building administrator, professor, consultant, director, superintendent, and project manager. Dr. Boone holds a BS from the University of Central Florida, a Master's degree from Mississippi College, and a PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has been recognized as Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Distinguished Service Award for Central Office Staff, and a Georgia Educational Celebrity and has served on numerous local and state committees. She is a former participant of the Millsaps Principals' Institute in 1999 and serves on the Millsaps Principals' Institute Advisory Board. Dr. Boone is committed to helping each student realize his/her full potential by building the capacity of all of those around her.


James “Jim” Keith

James “Jim” Keith has been practicing law since 1982. He joined Adams and Reese in 1996 and practices in the areas of employment, education and administrative law. A focused aspect of his practice involves the representation of educational entities, including school districts, community colleges and universities. He has contributed to the expansion of the Education practice across the firm. Mr.Keith presents in Mississippi and nationwide on issues involving the education of students with disabilities and other education topics. He has authored several special education articles and has contributed to national publications involving the education of students with disabilities. He advises universities and colleges on issues involving student rights. In 2006, Mr. Keith was awarded the Mississippi Association of School Administrators 2006 “Friend of Education” Award in appreciation of his dedicated support of public education.

In 2008, he received the Mississippi School Boards Association “Friend of Education” recognition for his work representing school districts throughout the State of Mississippi in State and Federal courts. This included employee matters, student issues, board/administration interaction and education of students with disabilities.

Mr. Keith is a Mississippi Bar Foundation Fellow. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University in 1971, and a law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1982.


Former Speakers

Dr. Stephen BarkleyDr. Stephen Barkley

A riveting motivational speaker, Steve Barkley’s unique, skill-based presentation will combine education theory with practical applications. In this session, Steve explores the relationship between instructional coaches and administrators, and how an effective coaching program can produce teacher change, student achievement and desired staff involvement.

For the past 30 years, Steve has served as a consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century. A prolific published author (Questions for Life: Powerful Strategies to Guide Critical Thinking, Tapping Student Effort: Increasing Student Achievement, Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching, Second Edition, WOW! Adding Pizzazz to Teaching and Learning, Second Edition), his weekly blog, Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud, has evolved into a go-to resource for teachers and administrators all over the world.


Principal Salome Thomas-ELPrincipal Salome Thomas-EL

“Every child needs someone to be crazy about them.” These are the words of Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning teacher, principal, and nationally recognized educator. They shape his lifelong commitment to answering the question, “How do we ensure that every child achieves their greatest potential?” This question lies at the heart of the national dialogue on education policy, the day in and day out work of school personnel, and the hopes of every parent. Central to this challenge is how we succeed with children who are facing the most serious barriers to success: poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations.

For over 20 years, Principal EL has taken on this challenge with the absolute belief that every child can and will learn as long as adults in their world care enough to not give up. Starting as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School and through his years as principal at several traditional public and charter schools, Thomas-EL has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundreds of troubled children not only graduate from high school but go on to earn higher degrees from major colleges and universities. He is currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington, Delaware. Principal EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. He was a regular contributor on the first season of The Dr. Oz Show and is the author of the best-selling books, I Choose to Stay, about his Vaux Middle School experience, and The Immortality of Influence (foreword by Will Smith), which stresses the importance of leadership, mentoring, parenting, and service to others. The Walt Disney Company has optioned the movie rights to I Choose to Stay.

Thomas-EL speaks to groups across the country and frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN, and NPR. Principal EL recently appeared on The Oprah Radio Network and was recognized by Reader’s Digest as an “Inspiring American Icon.”


Principal Baruti KafelePrincipal Baruti Kafele

Based on Principal Kafele’s best selling book, Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success, Principal Kafele asserts that the various gaps in student achievement continue to rank amongst the most important discussions in education today. Equally important for educators is the continued lack of student motivation, undesirable student behaviors and apathy towards achievement across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines. In this high-energy, interactive workshop, Principal Kafele argues that one of the greatest difficulties to closing the various achievement gaps is the overwhelming assumption that achievement is in fact, the problem. He says that the achievement gap is a consequence of the failure to adequately address what he calls, the Attitude Gap (the gap between those students who have the will to strive for academic excellence and those who do not) that continues to persist in American classrooms.



2018 Principals' Institute

June 10-15, 2018


Featured speakers:

Dr. Stephen BarkleyJune 12 - Dr. Stephen Barkley

A riveting motivational speaker, Steve Barkley’s unique, skill-based presentation will combine education theory with practical applications. In this session, Steve explores the relationship between instructional coaches and administrators, and how an effective coaching program can produce teacher change, student achievement and desired staff involvement.

For the past 30 years, Steve has served as a consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century. A prolific published author (Questions for Life: Powerful Strategies to Guide Critical Thinking, Tapping Student Effort: Increasing Student Achievement, Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching, Second Edition, WOW! Adding Pizzazz to Teaching and Learning, Second Edition), his weekly blog, Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud, has evolved into a go-to resource for teachers and administrators all over the world.


Dr. John HodgeJune 13 - Dr. John Hodge

Dr. John W. Hodge is president and co-founder of Urban Learning and Leadership Center (ULLC), an organization focused on student achievement and reduction of the achievement gap. He has served as a reading teacher, English teacher, AVID teacher, Assistant Principal and Associate Director of AVID Center Eastern Division. He served as Director of An Achievable Dream Academy, an inner city school that piloted many of the interventions used by Urban Learning and Leadership Center. An Achievable Dream Academy is a high performing, high poverty school that has received numerous national awards.

Dr. Hodge's career has been defined by assisting students and teachers overcome obstacles and achieve goals. He has served as an inspirational speaker across the United States and has been a guest lecturer at Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T State University and The George Washington University. Dr. Hodge is a trained facilitator for the (SREB) Leadership Initiative Modules “Leading Assessment and Instruction” and “Creating a High Performance Learning Culture”, and a trained assessor and facilitator in the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) “Developing the 21st Century Principal” program.

Prior to starting his career in education, Dr. Hodge distinguished himself in the service of our country with the 7th Infantry Division of the United States Army.


Alan M. BlanksteinJune 14 - Alan Blankstein

Award-winning author and educational leader, Alan Blankstein served for 25 years as President of the HOPE Foundation, which he founded and whose honorary chair is Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A former “high-risk” youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher. He worked for Phi Delta Kappa, March of Dimes, and Solution Tree, which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years while launching Professional Learning Communities beginning in the late 1980s. He is the author of the best-selling book "Failure Is Not an Option®: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools," which received the Book of the Year award from Learning Forward. Alan is Senior Editor, lead contributor, and/or author of 18 books, including "Excellence Through Equity with Pedro Noguera," (In Press). He also authored some 20 articles in leading education print including "Education Week," "Educational Leadership," "The Principal," and "Executive Educator." Alan has provided keynote presentations and workshops for virtually every major U.S. Ed Org, and throughout the UK, Africa, and the Middle East. Alan has served on the Harvard International Principals Centers advisory board, and the Jewish Child Care Agency, where he once was a youth in residence.



Register Today

Please complete the registration form. Send registration and PO or check to Millsaps PSI Director Cindy Martin. Qualify for early registration by March 2, 2018. Final registration is due by June 1, 2018. Email:; fax: 601.974.1397; call: 601.974.1354




Bronze Sponsor


Dr. Jeanne Middleton-Hairston


Dr. Marlys Vaughn


Amethyst Sponsors






Find out more about sponsor levels.


Advisory Board

Dr. Lynnette McNeil, Chair
Principal, Oakdale Elementary School

Jarrod Bohannon
Principal, Baxterville School

Dr. Donna Boone
Superintendent, Forrest County Agricultural High School District

Dr. Greg Carlyle
Principal, Heritage Academy

Teresa Duke
Federal Programs, Clinton Public School District

Tracey Taylor Gregory
Principal, Webster Elementary School

Torrey Hampton
Principal, Woolfolk Middle School

Dr. Sara Harper
Principal, McWillie Elementary School


Bobby Hathorn
Principal (Retired), Clinton Public School District

Xavier Hodo
Principal, Leflore County High School

Jean Massey
Associate State Superintendent, MS Department of Education

Chris Perritt
Principal, Germantown Middle School

Charlotte Seals
Assistant Superintendent, Madison County School

Temeka Shannon
Principal, Verona Elementary School

Dr. Catherine Wasson
Professor, Belhaven College


Contact Us

For more information regarding any of these programs and sponsorships, contact Cindy Martin, Director of the Principals' Institute, at 601.974.1354.