In January, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary with a breakfast at the State Capitol. Several legislators, education policy partners, and even a few former interns stopped by to congratulate us on our first decade.

“For the last 10 years, Mississippi First has championed transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every Mississippi child. We are proud of our positive impact on the lives of thousands of students in Mississippi,” said Rachel Canter, Executive Director. “In this special moment, we also want to thank our many supporters and partners for their dedication to our work and mission.”

Through the years.

Mississippi First has been dedicated to advancing education over the last 10 years. We are proud of what we have accomplished and the impact we have had on the lives of students in Mississippi. Our proudest milestones include passing two pieces of watershed legislation (Mississippi Public Charter School Act and the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013), developing the groundwork for a teen health organization, and becoming an important partner to education policymakers.

Looking ahead to the next decade.

In the years ahead, we will be as committed as ever to educational excellence for every Mississippi child. We will continue to expand our work in the following policy areas…

The Mississippi First Story.

Over 25 years ago, Rachel Canter and Sanford Johnson formed a friendship riding the school bus in elementary school in Starkville, Mississippi. After graduating college, they both became teachers in the Mississippi Delta, and both later went to school to study public policy-Rachel at the Harvard Kennedy School and Sanford at the Clinton School of Public Service. While they share many experiences, their strongest commonality is their deep desire to improve education in their home state. This passion for education led Rachel and Sanford to launch Mississippi First on October 15, 2008, as a 501c3 nonprofit. In the past decade, Mississippi First has passed two pieces of watershed legislation (Mississippi Public Charter School Act and the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013), become an important partner to education policymakers, and developed the groundwork for a teen health organization.

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