Mayor Barker Nominates Steele for Reappointment to Hattiesburg Public School Board of Trustees

Mayor Barker Nominates Steele for Reappointment to Hattiesburg Public School Board of Trustees

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Monday, March 29, Mayor Toby Barker announced his nomination to reappoint Eric Steele to the Hattiesburg Public School District Board of Trustees. 

Barker believes that placing the community’s trust in a group of individuals to foster and cultivate the next generation of Hattiesburg citizens in a safe learning environment is a heavy mantle of responsibility – one he doesn’t take lightly. 

“Academic excellence requires three things – resources, leadership and community involvement. Mr. Eric Steele embodies all three, and I’ve leaned on him several times since I took office in 2017,” said Barker. “Over and over, he has chosen to embrace service, encouragement and hard work with actions behind his words. It’s evident that he is passionate about education, and I’m grateful he is accepting my reappointment for another five-year term.” 

In addition to serving on the School Board of Trustees for the past five years, Steele is a Hattiesburg native with a vast military and logistics background built throughout his 24 years of service to the United States Army. He is a 1971 graduate of Rowan High School and holds a social arts and science degree from Alcorn State University. 

“Education is personal to Mr. Steele. Both of his parents, Edward and Inez Steele, were also school teachers in the Hattiesburg Public School District. He knows first-hand how important leadership and service is to the school system,” added Barker. “In the tough season in which we find ourselves, we want our citizens to know that we continue to take necessary steps that will continue pushing Hattiesburg toward excellence. Appointing leaders like Mr. Steele play a vital role in that.” 

As a school board member, Steele will continue to work alongside fellow board members to create district policy and manage the allocation of district resources. He will continue representing Ward 5 neighborhoods in his seat. Steele was first appointed to the board in 2016.

“It’s an honor to be reappointed to this position,” said Steele. “This is an opportunity for me to give back to the community and to all the people who helped me get to the position where I am now. This is something I have a passion for, and I look forward to the future. It’s a great day to be a Tiger!” 

Steele’s reappointment rounds out a full slate of appointments by Barker. The following are currently serving with Steele on the Board of Trustees:

  • Delores McNair, president
  • Yolanda Morris
  • Dr. Eddie Holloway
  • Neil Rogers

The reappointment will be added to the City Council agenda this week and will be voted on by the Hattiesburg City Council on Tuesday, April 6.

This announcement comes on the heels of several Hattiesburg Public Schools recognized by the Mississippi Association for Partners in Education for several awards won due to excellence achieved for community partnerships and leadership involvement. These awards include:

2021 Governor’s Award

  • Middle School/Jr. High Level
    • N. R. Burger Middle School
  • Elementary Level
    • Grace Christian Elementary
    • Woodley Elementary
    • Hawkins Elementary
    • Thames Elementary
  • Awards for Pandemic Partnership Response
    • Hawkins Elementary
    • N.R. Burger Middle School
    • Thames Elementary
    • William Carey University School of Education
  • University Level: William Carey University School of Education and Community Partners

2021 Partnership Excellence Awards

  • Elementary Level
    • Lillie Burney STEAM Academy
    • Rowan Elementary
  • Multi-Level School Level
    • Mary Bethune School
  • Pandemic Partnership Response 
    • Rowan Elementary