The Mississippi First team is a group of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to promote the mission of Mississippi First.
Rachel’s responsibilities involve direct interaction with all interested stakeholders, donors, legislators, and other policymakers. She works with the Board of Directors to ensure MSF is functioning according to our mission and goals and operating within our budget and funding restrictions. Rachel also oversees all policy research and advocacy initiatives.
Sanford directs all MSF’s community-level policy outreach and advocacy efforts. He leads the advocacy campaign for the CHART Initiative and Common Core and spearheads our campus outreach. Sanford engages educators, students, parents, and community members through presentations, trainings, and project facilitation. Sanford is based in the Clarksdale, Mississippi office.
Deputy Director of Policy
Angela serves as an education policy expert, assisting MSF in enacting its policy agenda. She is responsible for analyzing policy and data, developing policy proposals, conducting advocacy activities directed toward policymakers, leading research projects, writing policy papers, and delivering policy presentations. Angela is based in the Jackson, Mississippi office.
Director of Communications and Operations
MacKenzie is responsible for promoting, enhancing, and protecting MSF’s brand reputation as well as a broad range of public relations activities relative to the strategic direction and positioning of the organization and its advocacy agenda. This includes newsletters and other print publications; web, e-news, and other online communications; media and public relations; and marketing.
Director of Teen Health Policy
Josh provides issue education and advocacy for local- and state-level policies related to teen sexual health. He works directly with the Deputy Director of Advocacy to assist in district advocacy for the CHART Abstinence-Plus Policy and teacher training on the CHART curricula. He also works with local communities to improve teens’ access to general health services. Josh is based in the Jackson, Mississippi office.
Director of Teen Health Mississippi/Focus4Teens Project Director
Emily is responsible for overseeing Teen Health Mississippi programming and growth. Teen Health MS currently includes all the teen sexual health initiatives of Mississippi First. Emily provides trainings for evidence-based comprehensive sex education curricula, professional development opportunities for educators teaching sex education and other related courses, and supports other Teen Health MS staff to provide youth-friendly trainings to health centers. She also works with partnering organizations and school districts to provide immediate training/professional development for relevant educators and works to increase access to youth-friendly health centers. Emily is based in the Jackson, Mississippi office.
Focus4Teens Project Coordinator
Sara supports and coordinates Focus4Teens, a 5-year cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to work with publicly funded health centers and youth-serving systems to reduce teen pregnancy among youth from vulnerable populations in Coahoma, Quitman, and Tunica Counties in the Mississippi Delta. Sara is based in the Clarksdale, Mississippi office.
Training and Program Coordinator
Hope provides trainings for evidence-based comprehensive sex education curricula, professional development opportunities for educators teaching sex education and other related courses, and workshops and resources for parents. She works with partnering organizations and school districts to provide immediate training/professional development for sex education teachers. She will also improve the monitoring and evaluation systems for Teen Health Mississippi’s sexual health work while supporting the strategic growth of the organization. Hope is based in the Clarksdale, Mississippi office.
Healthcare Training & Engagement Coordinator
Chris will help Mississippi First and Teen Health Mississippi improve and expand our work to increase access to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive healthcare services. He also works to engage youth across the state in order to inform and support all of our teen health work, which includes improving sex education and championing better teen health policies. Chris is based in the Jackson, Mississippi office.