Local Superintendent Named Dean of the WCU School of Education
Hattiesburg, Miss., January 24, 2014 - Dr. Ben Burnett has been named the Dean of the William Carey University School of Education. Dr. Burnett has served as superintendent of the Lamar County School District since 2008, and has 28 years of experience in the public schools of Mississippi with 26 of those years with Lamar County Schools. He was formerly director of bands and then principal of Oak Grove Middle School. He has also served as an adjunct professor for graduate courses at both Carey and The University of Southern Mississippi.
“Carey has a long tradition of training quality teachers, and we are currently the fourth largest school of education in the state and the largest in a private school,” said Dr. Tommy King, president. “We are so pleased to have Dr. Ben Burnett join our team as dean of the school of education. His experience in the public schools, his knowledge of educational trends and his unquestioned integrity make him an ideal choice to continue the fine teacher education program that has been built by previous deans.”
Dr. Burnett received both his bachelor's and master’s degree in music education and his Ph.D. in educational administration from USM. He is deeply involved in the community, serving as president of Pine Belt Superintendents, on the Pearl River Community College Board of Trustees, on the gifted advisory board for USM, as an executive board member for PREPS of Mississippi, as a board member for Gulf Coast Education Initiative, and as a member of Mississippi School Public Relations Association, among many other activities. He was given the Mississippi School Board Association (MSBA) Beacon Award for Lamar County Schools in 2013, named Lamar Times Person of the Year in 2012, presented the MSBA Lantern Award for Lamar County Schools in 2009, 2010, and 2011, received the Mississippi Gifted Advocate Award in 2011, and was named Mississippi Middle School Principal of the Year, and Teacher of the Year for the Lamar County School District.
“I’m so excited to be able to remain in the field of education,” said Dr. Burnett. “I wouldn’t trade any of the positions I’ve held up to this point for anything in the world, and I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to work in my home district for 26 years. I’m thrilled that I will be able to bring real world experience from the K-12 setting into the college classrooms.”
Dr. Burnett is an active member of Heritage United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Denice, have a son, Lane, who is 15 years old. Denice is the director of student operations for the Lamar County Office of Special Education and Lane is a student at Oak Grove High School.
“I am looking forward to this new adventure, and I’m excited about a chance to teach more often,” Dr. Burnett said. “I especially look forward to working with the faculty in WCU’s school of education, as they are a very strong team.”
Dr. Burnett will take over the position as dean on June 1.