The Mississippi First team is a group of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to promote the mission of Mississippi First.

Our Staff

Rachel Canter


Rachel leads the work of Mississippi First, including strategy, financial management, and decision-making.

MacKenzie Hines

Chief of

As Chief of Staff, MacKenzie supports the effective operations of the organization. She also directs Mississippi First’s communications.

Toren Ballard

Director of K-12

Toren assists Mississippi First in developing and enacting our K-12 policy agenda.

Brooke Williams

Associate Director of

Brooke is responsible for developing, coordinating, and executing strategic communications and public affairs efforts, strategies, and plans designed to promote specific Mississippi First initiatives.

Micayla Tatum

Associate Director of Early Childhood

Micayla supports Mississippi First in the development and execution of its early childhood policy agenda, with a particular focus on Pre-K and childcare.

Pheron Russell

Special Projects

Pheron is responsible for assisting and managing projects for the Mississippi First team, with a specific focus on charter schools and early education.

Our Board

The Board of Directors is the governing body of Mississippi First. Individuals who sit on the board are responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities. Board members meet quarterly to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization. They serve three-year terms and can serve two terms back-to-back.

LeKesha Perry
Board Chair

Catoria Martin
Board Treasurer

Kate Gluckman
Board Member

Adam Smith
Board Member

Tim Abram, II
Board Member