Mississippi Superintendent of Education Carey Wright announced her retirement, effective June 30, at the State Board of Education meeting on Thursday. 

Wright, who first took on the role in 2013, has been the longest-serving superintendent of education since the state board was created in 1982. 

“This board is accepting her retirement with much regret and much gratitude for the work that she has done,” said Board Chair Rosemary Aultman when making the announcement at the meeting. 

During her tenure, graduation rates have risen nearly 13%, the Early Learning Collaborative program was established to increase Pre-K access, the Mississippi Connects initiative provided a device to every student, and the Mississippi Teacher Residency gave scholarships to aspiring teachers. 

“Leading education in Mississippi has been the honor and privilege of my life. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I have been given to work with dedicated educators and leaders across Mississippi, the entire Mississippi Department of Education team and committed State Board members and legislative leaders. Together we have worked to make a difference in the lives of children,” Wright said in a statement. “Most especially, I am incredibly proud of Mississippi students. There is no limit to what they can accomplish.”

Aultman said there will be discussion on Wright’s transition and the search for the new superintendent in the coming weeks.

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Julia James is Mississippi Today’s poverty and breaking news reporter. A native of Mandeville, Louisiana, James recently completed an investigative reporting internship with Mississippi Today. In that role, she closely covered the sprawling welfare scandal and public education. She will continue that work, as well as working closely with Mississippi Today’s breaking news team. James is a 2021 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she studied journalism and public policy and was in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She has been published in The New York Times, Mississippi Today, and Clarion Ledger.

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