The University of Mississippi provides numerous facets for its students and the residents of Mississippi. These facets include campus leadership programs, infinite networking opportunities, and NCAA athletics, among others. As any Ole Miss graduate knows, however, the ultimate provision is the prize of education. Now, Ole Miss alumnus Hank Bounds (PhD 00) intends to bring that prize home to every Mississippi student as he answers his calling and begins his mission as the newly appointed State Superintendent of Education.
Love and respect for education are qualities that have always embodied Bounds. These qualities, Bounds believes, flow through every breezeway, every building, and from each instructor on the Ole Miss campus.
“Ole Miss and the Ole Miss community are making a difference in the lives of Mississippians, which is making a tremendous impact throughout all of Mississippi. I was very fortunate to have very talented teachers,” said Bounds. “They really challenged me to think of leadership in a different way – a way that would best help the students.”
Bounds’ administrative career began at age 26, when he was named principal of Forrest County Agricultural High School. Since then, he has held the principal positions at Lumberton High School (1996-99) and Pascagoula High School (1999-2001). Bounds’ greatest opportunity presented itself during the latter stage of his Pascagoula principalship, when he was appointed district superintendent.
During his time as superintendent, Bounds implemented programs that encouraged and provided a means for all students of the district to excel academically. His “Superior Expect It!” campaign was embraced by administrators, teachers, and students as a tool with which to not only encourage but expect high academic achievements. As superintendent, Bounds also organized an annual “Read and Ride Rally” in which over 700 students were awarded bikes in recognition of their reading growth and achievement.
Now, at age 37, Bounds intention for the students of Mississippi is a simple one. “We are going to search for ways to accelerate learning,” he said.
According to Dr. Bobbie Smothers, Associate Professor and Coordinator of K-12 Administration, there is no doubt that Bounds will succeed.
“Dr. Bounds is the type of student that most teachers never get to experience. He exhibits extraordinary academic talent and leadership capabilities,” said Smothers. “Dr. Bounds possesses superb character, integrity, and morals. He is tenacious, and he never gives excuses. He has an absolutely unwavering disposition.”
Along with being a successful educator and leader for the students, teachers, and administrators of Mississippi, Bounds is also a caring husband and father. His wife, Susan, is a classroom teacher. Together, they have two children. Bounds quickly admits that much of his success as a professional and as a family man is due to his wife.
“I have a wonderful wife. She is the glue that holds everything together,” said Bounds.
Undoubtedly, Bounds will utilize his experience as an administrator, his passion as an educator and his integrity as a family man, and, in turn, will expect no less than a superior performance for the education of Mississippi’s children.