State Board of Education appoints Donald Cook executive director of MSMS



For immediate release: April 21, 2022

Dr Donald Cook

JACKSON, Mississippi — The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted today to hire Donald Cook, Ed.D., as executive director of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS).

As Executive Director of MSMS, Cook’s responsibilities will include overseeing all operations, functions and activities of MSMS, including coordinating long and short term planning, policy development and implementation; and provide guidance on financial, personnel, academic, admissions, and student services matters.

Cook graduated in 1990 from the inaugural class of MSMS. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology/pre-medicine from Mississippi State University in 1994, a master’s degree in science education from Mississippi College in 1997, and a doctorate in education from Liberty University in 2018.

Cook began his teaching career in 1996 as a chemistry/physics professor at the Northwest Rankin Attendance Center in Brandon, Mississippi. He then returned to MSMS serving in various roles including Chemistry Instructor, Resident Advisor, and Assistant Resident Ward Director. Currently, he works as an instructor at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika, Alabama and teaches science at Newman High School in Newman, Georgia.

Cook served as department chair and associate professor of science and mathematics at Point University in West Point, Georgia, from 2011 to 2021, where he was responsible for overseeing systems, processes, personnel, schedules, and advice to students at the department level. His additional expertise includes designing an advanced curriculum framework for Advanced Placement (AP) Physics, designing curricula for competency-based courses, and creating online science courses and labs.

The MDE oversees MSMS, a public residential high school located on the University of Mississippi campus for women in Columbus, Mississippi. MSMS offers an accelerated and immersive curriculum for gifted and talented 11th and 12th graders across the state. The school’s acting executive director is Rick Smith.

Cook will take office as executive director on June 1, 2022.

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