Alumnus to lead Mississippi School for Math and Science

The educator chosen to lead the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science was a member of the school’s first class in 1990.

The state board of education voted on Thursday to hire Donald Cook as executive director of the public residential high school that offers an accelerated curriculum for high school juniors and seniors. It begins June 1 at the school, which is on the campus of the University of Mississippi for Women in Columbus.

Germain McConnell had been managing director of MSMS for eight years. He left on January 1 to become the Oxford School District’s chief of staff. The interim director of MSMS was Rick Smith.

Cook 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.

He began his education career in 1996 as a chemistry/physics teacher at the Northwest Rankin Attendance Center in Brandon. He then returned to MSMS as a Chemistry Instructor, Resident Advisor, and Assistant Resident Ward Director.

He is currently an instructor at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika, Alabama, and a science teacher at Newnan High School in Newnan, Georgia.

Cook was Department Chair and Professor of Science and Mathematics at Point University in West Point, Georgia from 2011 to 2021. He designed a curriculum framework for advanced-level physics and created courses and labs science online.

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