Event open to the public; sponsorship opportunities available
The 2012 Winter-Reed Partnership Award will be presented to Jim and Claiborne Barksdale, Mississippi businessmen whose visionary leadership and philanthropy have strengthened early-childhood literacy and public education. They will be honored during an award dinner Sept. 10 at the Jackson Convention Center.
The honorees were responsible for establishing and operating The Barksdale Reading Institute in Oxford, Miss., a joint venture with the Mississippi Department of Education and the state’s public universities to improve reading skills among Mississippi children from birth to third grade.
Jim Barksdale, chairman of the board and president of Barksdale Management Corporation, a philanthropic investment company, gifted $100 million to the State of Mississippi in 2000 to establish The Barksdale Reading Institute. Claiborne Barksdale has served as chief executive officer since the institute’s founding.
“The Barksdales have promoted the importance of early childhood literacy and provided resources to Mississippi’s public schools to ensure that our children are better prepared for the future,” said Michael Bentley, incoming president of MAPE and an attorney with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. “They truly embody the spirit of the Winter-Reed Award through their efforts on behalf of all Mississippians to help build a brighter future for our state by improving public education.”
MAPE launched the Winter-Reed Partnership Award in 2007 to honor former Gov. William Winter and Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Sr. for their lifelong contributions to public education and to provide ongoing recognition to Mississippians who demonstrate a similar commitment. Event sponsorships also raise funds to support MAPE programs and services.
“No one has done more for public education in Mississippi than William Winter and Jack Reed,” said Jim Barksdale, who has served as interim executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority since January 2012. “Mississippi is eternally indebted to them. Receiving this honor is very gratifying.”
“This is a great honor for me and for Jim,” said Claiborne Barksdale, past chairman of the Mississippi Children’s Museum and current chairman of The Parents’ Campaign, a public education advocacy project in Mississippi. “Governor Winter and Jack Reed have fought this fight for a long time. I hope that our work justifies and will continue to justify this recognition.”
Last year the Winter-Reed Partnership Award was presented to State Rep. Robert Clark and “The Boys of Spring” — Andy Mullins, Dick Molpus, David Crews and John Henegan — who helped engineer the now historical Education Reform Act of 1982.
The 2009 recipient was Dr. Cathy Grace, founding director of Mississippi State University’s Early Childhood Institute. In 2008, MAPE posthumously honored Sen. Grey Ferris, considered the architect of the Mississippi Adequate Education Act.
Sponsorship opportunities for the Winter-Reed Partnership Award are available by contacting MAPE at 601-573-0896 or visiting www.mapie.org. Individual tickets for the awards banquet are $75 and may be purchased online at www.mapie.org or from MAPE, P.O. Box 2803, Madison, MS 39130.