OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Education is inducting five honorees into its Alumni Hall of Fame in recognition of the significant contributions they’ve made to the field of education. The group will be recognized at a ceremony at a later date.
“The Alumni Hall of Fame awardees are recognized for their incredible lifetime contributions to the field of education,” said David Rock, UM education dean. “Our Hall of Fame recipients have gone above and beyond within and outside of their careers to make our state, nation and world a better place by focusing on education across all disciplines and levels.”
The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees include David Beckley, of Holly Springs; Ann Henson, of Germantown, Tennessee; Beverly Johnston, of Madison; and Andrew P. Mullins Jr., of Oxford. Rose Jackson Flenorl, of Memphis, received the Outstanding Educational Service Award and is also recognized as a Hall of Fame inductee.
The honorees were selected by the School of Education Alumni Advisory Board through nominations made by the school’s community.
Beckley, who has dedicated more than 50 years of service to education, received a master’s degree and a doctorate in higher education administration from UM. He served as the president of Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, until 1993.
He returned to Mississippi and was appointed president of Rust College, where he has remained in that leadership role for 27 years, becoming the longest tenured senior college president in Mississippi. Beckley is also a U.S. Army veteran with service in Vietnam.
Being inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame “is a high honor and one that I will forever cherish as I close my career in higher education this year,” Beckley said. “This recognition not only recognizes my time at the University of Mississippi, but my service to higher education for 51 years, serving the last 33 years as president of two historically black colleges.
“This recognition is an excellent way to close this chapter in my life.”
Henson earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in special education from UM in 1975 and ’76, respectively. Her career in early childhood education has spanned more than 40 years as she has coordinated efforts locally and across the state to advocate for the health, wellness and educational opportunities for all children in Mississippi.
She began her career at the Early Education Center in Jackson, teaching preschool children with developmental disabilities, and then served as state training coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. Most recently, Henson was an early childhood specialist for the University of Southern Mississippi’s Institute for Disability Studies, where she provided technical assistance to early childhood education professionals and child care providers to enhance the quality of learning experiences for all children. She retired from this position in 2017 after 12 years of service.
Henson also served as the board president for the UM School of Education Alumni Advisory Board from 2014 to 2017.
“I view my experience at Ole Miss and the School of Education as a very positive and formative experience in every way,” Henson said. “My education effectively prepared me for my career in early childhood education in Mississippi, and my overall experience at Ole Miss prepared me for life.”
Johnston, who completed her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from UM in 1993, worked for 29 years in Mississippi public schools, eight of which were spent as an elementary teacher in DeSoto and Madison counties. She then served 21 years in administration at Madison Station Elementary School, where she was named Administrator of the Year twice during her tenure as principal.
After retiring from teaching in 2017, she works at Delta State University in the educational leadership program and coaches aspiring principals from around the state.
“I know that were it not for the many individuals that invested in me while obtaining my various degrees that my career would not have been able to impact students and teachers,” Johnston said. “So to receive this recognition is really a thank-you to the professors as well as the principals and superintendents that shared their knowledge and craft with me.”
Mullins, who has dedicated nearly 50 years of educational service to Mississippi, received his doctorate in college administration from Ole Miss in 1992. He began his career as a high school teacher, coach and administrator at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Jackson.
In 1980, he joined Gov. William Winter’s staff as a special assistant and assisted in creating the state’s Education Reform Act of 1982. Mullins later worked for three different UM chancellors in various leadership roles and helped draft and pass the legislation establishing the Mississippi Teacher Corps.
“I was a special assistant to three different chancellors for 19 years and taught in and worked in the Mississippi Teacher Corps for 25 years, and I enjoyed everything those responsibilities during that time entailed,” said Mullins, who retired this year. “This honor of being selected to the School of Education Hall of Fame means a lot to me because of my association with what I consider one of the very best schools of education in the nation.”
Flenorl, who earned her bachelor’s degree in education and journalism from UM in 1979, received the Outstanding Educational Service Award, a special recognition allowing the School of Education to honor alumni or others who have demonstrated exemplary service throughout their career in support of the field of education at the community, state or national level.
Flenorl has more than 30 years of experience working in marketing, communications and corporate social responsibility, and she has worked in corporate communications for FedEx for 19 years. She is manager of the FedEx Global Citizenship group and has been instrumental in the design and execution of the company’s major citizenship initiatives in the areas of global entrepreneurship, sustainable logistics, and diversity and inclusion.
She also represents FedEx on the Conference Board Corporate Social Responsibility Council and the National Civil Rights Museum board of directors. Outside FedEx, Flenorl serves on the boards of the Renasant Bank West Tennessee and Saint Francis Hospital.
As a student, Flenorl was the first black female named to the UM student Hall of Fame and was honored by Glamour Magazine as one of the top 10 college women in the United States. She was inducted to the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 1998.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘everybody can be great because everybody can serve,'” Flenorl said. “I am humbled and grateful to be recognized for my service to others, and I am honored to be recognized by my alma mater and the School of Education.”
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees join 26 previous inductees. For more information about the School of Education Hall of Fame, visit http://education.olemiss.edu/.
By Meaghan Flores