Local Government Leadership Institute

Program Staff

T. Michael Simmons, Ph.D.
Program Director
Phone: 662-846-4254

Dr. T. Michael Simmons serves as the Director of the Local Government Leadership Institute (LGLI) at Delta State University. She is a native of Jackson, MS and a proud graduate of Jackson State University and Howard University where she received her undergraduate (B.S.E.) and graduate (M.Ed. & Ph.D.) training in Educational Psychology. She is a former middle school teacher, and a licensed teaching educator for the state of Mississippi with endorsements in Elementary Education, English, Social Studies, & Psychology. Prior to her work with Delta State’s Leadership Institute, Dr. Simmons served as an active, tenured member of the DSU faculty for more than eight years. Her research interests include professional & racial identity development, teaching efficacy, and municipal and community leadership. Dr. Simmons has received a number of campus awards including DSU’s 2014 Diversity Award for Excellence from the MS Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, DSU’s 2016 Connected Educator Award, and DSU’s 2017 & 2019 Lady Statesman Emerald Award of Excellence for Inclusive Excellence & Advocacy.  She is a member of the Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi class of 2019 and serves on several community boards including the Mississippi Center for Justice and Higher Purpose Company.   In addition to directing the LGLI, Dr. Simmons serves as Chair of the campus Winning the Race Conference and campus lead for Mississippi’s Delta Proud Youth Initiative.  She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and lives in Greenville, MS with her husband and two children.

Mrs. Barbara Washington
Administrative Assistant
Phone: 662-846-4253

Mrs. Barbara Washington serves as the Administrative Assistant & Educational Coordinator for the Local Government Leadership Institute at Delta State University.  Mrs. Washington is a native of Yazoo City, MS and a graduate of Belhaven College where she received a BSM in Management.  Mrs. Washington has held numerous positions in non-profit and educational settings prior to her employment with the Institute, the most recent being Program Coordinator for the Delta Area Association for the Improvement of Schools (DAAIS).  She is married and has 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Ms. Bria Beal
Interim Project Manager 
Phone: 662-846-4808

Ms. Bria Beal is the Project Manager for the Local Government Leadership Institute. A native of Mound Bayou, MS, she completed her undergraduate studies at Mississippi State University and received a Master’s of Science in Community Development from Delta State University.  Prior to joining the Institute, she served as Interim Project Director of the Delta Reads Plus Program. In addition to leading projects for LGLI, Ms. Beal also coordinates the Breast Education and Early-Detection Project (BEEP), which provides free mammograms, clinical breast exams, and ultrasounds for uninsured women in the Mississippi Delta. Ms. Beal coordinates a number of special campus projects including Delta Proud Youth Initiative’s Summer Youth Leadership Institute and the university’s annual Winning the Race Conference. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and serves on multiple committees within her local chapter.