MELFA Members

Dr. Stephanie L. Henderson

Dr. Stephanie L. Henderson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Spelman College, a Masters in Business Administration from Millsaps College, a Specialist Degree in Education Leadership from Mississippi College, and a Doctorate of Education in Education Leadership from Mississippi College. She holds over 15 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in the public education setting. She currently serves as Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of teacher Education and Leadership at Mississippi College

Dr. Henderson is the wife of Roderick Henderson and mother to their 2 sons, RJ and Michael. She is actively involved in the Mt. Wade M.B. Church as a Deaconess and Treasurer of the Sisterhood Women’s Ministry. She is active in her community as a member of the Junior Auxiliary of Brookhaven, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County, and Board Member for the Lincoln County Civic Center. She also serves as President of the Board for Magnolia Speech School and as a Board Member for both Mission First Ministries and Mission First Early Learning Center.

Dr. Sellers

Dr. Sellers has worked full-time at William Carey University since 2018.  She worked for four years at the University of South Alabama as Director of South Alabama Research and Inservice Center and taught Educational Leadership courses.

She worked in K-12 as a district-level administrator, a building-level principal, as well as a classroom teacher before retiring and beginning her career in higher education.  She and her husband Davis have four children.

Dr. Noal Cochran

Dr. Noal Cochran has over 30 years of experience in the fields of industry, education, and mental health.  He earned an undergraduate degree in polymer science and holds a Master’s degree in science education, a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy; and a Specialist Degree and a PhD in Educational Leadership. Dr. Cochran has been at USM for three years and currently serves as the Associate Dean for Educator Preparation and Accreditation as well as the Interim Director of the School of Education at the University of Southern Mississippi. In addition to his current role, Dr. Cochran has served various school districts as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and superintendent. He is also a former marriage and family therapist with extensive mental health experience in family therapy, crisis management, secondary trauma in professionals, addiction counseling, and identity formation in teens.

Dr. D. Lynn Reed

Dr. D. Lynn Reed, Assistant Professor, Educational Administration, and Supervision, Delta State University. Dr. Reed was the Superintendent of Salem Community Schools, Salem, Indiana,  from 2007-2019. From 2000 to 2007, she served as Superintendent of Brown County Schools, Nashville, Indiana. Her career has spanned 39 years of service as an administrator and teacher. Dr. Reed earned her Ed.D. at East Tennessee State University, her M.S. degree at Indiana University, and her B.S. degree at Indiana State University.

Dr. Jennifer Stafford

Dr. Jennifer Stafford is a tenured, full Professor at Mississippi College. She has continued to serve on the higher education level for 20 years, with 7 years of prior experience in secondary education and leadership.  Dr. Stafford earned degrees from Mississippi State University and The University of Memphis. Dr. Stafford’s past and current leadership roles in higher education include: Associate Dean, Assistant Dean for Hiring, Director of Graduate Studies, Coordinator of Graduate Programs; Professor of Science Methods, Research, Statistics, Educational Law, Educational Finance, Curriculum & Instruction, and Educational Leadership. Some of her community and university involvements include: Faculty Council and State Leadership Council Representative, MS Education Leadership Faculty Association President (MELFA) and Researcher for local school Districts. Dr. Stafford and her husband are very proud parents and grandparents.

Dr. Dennis Bunch

Dr. Dennis Bunch served as a teacher, coach, and administrator, both at the building and district level, in the state of Arkansas for sixteen years.  His background includes the secondary principalship and superintendency in the state of Arkansas for seven years.  He spent eight years working at the Tennessee Department of Education as the Director of the Tennessee Academy for School Leaders (TASL).  Dr. Bunch has been teaching at the University of Mississippi since 2007.  His research interests include effective leadership in schools and the assessment of school leaders, improving instruction through principal preparation, and improving education through school, community, and university partnerships. Dr. Bunch also served on the National Advisory Committee for the development of the second and third iterations of the School Leaders Licensure Assessment for the Educational Testing Service organization.  He has designed and leads UM tutorial sessions for the mandated licensing exam.

Dr. Cynthia W. Wilkins

Dr. Cynthia W. Wilkins, Associate Professor, serves as the Chair, Graduate Teacher Education, at Belhaven University where she oversees the MAT, MED, EDS and EDD programs. She is also the data officer for the School of Education. She also serves as a consultant and mentor for the Modern Classrooms program.

Dr. Albert Carter

Dr. Albert Carter is originally from Greenville, MS. He attended Tougaloo College where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in English. After college, he taught with Jackson Public Schools for several years. While teaching, he obtained my master’s degree in Education from Mississippi College. After his tenure with Jackson Public Schools, he worked for the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). Dr. Carter worked in several offices at the MDE, including the Mississippi Virtual Public School, Teacher Recruitment, Student Assessment, and Educator Preparation. Currently, Dr. Carter works at Jackson State University (JSU) as an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership. In this role, he teaches classes, coordinates the online Masters and Specialist programs, serves as graduate student advisor, and directs the Administrators Leadership Academy. His work in this role has afforded him the opportunity to assist many in making major life decisions by pursuing graduate degrees. Dr. Carter served as the Interim Department Chair for one academic year. He also taught part-time as an online English instructor for Seven Star Christian Academy. He obtained a Ph. D. in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University Southern of Mississippi in 2014. He is passionate about the field of education, online learning, community involvement, and serving others.

Dr. LaMarcus D. Norman

A native of Greenville, MS. Dr. Norman spent 12 years of service as a public-school administrator and teacher in Mississippi. From 2014-2019, Dr. Norman was an assistant principal in the Rankin County School District and from 2019-2021, he served as head principal for one of the most diverse populations of elementary schools in Mississippi. Dr. Norman attended Jackson State University where he received a B.S. in Business Administration, subsequently obtaining his Alternate Route Certification in elementary education from Mississippi College. He has also obtained a specialist degree in education administration from the University of Mississippi and completed his Doctoral degree from Delta State University. Dr. Norman was honored as the 2019 Mississippi Educational Computer Association (MECA) administrator of the year and currently serves as a board for the organization.

Dr. Mario R. Keys, Sr.

A native son of Clarksdale, Mississippi and Coahoma County. My educational career encompasses twenty-seven years of service. Including service as a teacher in grades Pre-K through 12th, assistant principal, principal, numerous central office leadership and administrative positions, such as Director of Personnel, Director of Professional Learning, Director of Federal Programs, District Test Coordinator, and now full-time faculty member and Coordinator of the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program at Mississippi College. I received my Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Mississippi Valley State University. I received my Master of Education Degree, Education Specialist Degree, and Doctor of Education Degrees in Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision, from Union University.

The quality of our educational product is dependent upon our level of commitment to employ our collective knowledge, skill, and passion for the benefit of ALL students.

Dr. Paula Tharp

Paula Tharp has a long career in education in schools and educational support organizations. She is currently serving on the Educational Leadership team at Mississippi State University as an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of the Principal Preparation program. She also serves as part of the faculty for the Teacher Leadership program as well as the Doctoral programs in Educational Administration. Dr. Tharp’s research interest center on School Improvement and Increasing School and District Capacity for Improvement. In addition to her role at MSU, she supports schools and school districts in their efforts to increase capacity and outcomes for students.

Dr. Gregg Stall

Dr. Gregg Stall, serves as an Assistant Teaching Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Southern Mississippi. During Dr. Stall’s 39 years in the field of education, his tenure was divided equally between K-12 education and higher education. During his K-12 days, he served as a teacher, coach, and building/district administrator. Prior to arriving at U.S.M., Dr. Stall spent 18 years at Nicholls State University as Director of the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology program (2001-2004); Associate Professor of Educational Leadership; Department Head of Teacher Education; and Assistant Dean of the College of Education. He also served as an elected school board member for the Lafourche Parish School Board in Louisiana. Dr. Stall graduated with an B.S. in Secondary Education from Louisiana State University (1982), a M.S in Educational Administration and Supervision from Nicholls State University (1991), and a Ph.D. from the University of New Orleans (1997).

Dr. Diana Ezell

Dr. Diana Ezell has worked in public schools for 40 years.  She taught Special Education classes for 15 years. During those years, she also completed assessments for special education and gifted programs. She was the principal of Church Street Elementary School in Tupelo, Mississippi for 16 years. For eight years, she served as an assistant superintendent for the Tupelo Public School District.   Since 2007, Dr. Ezell has worked as an Adjunct Professor for Delta State University teaching Educational Leadership and Elementary Education courses. In 2019, she took on the role of Program Coordinator for Educational Administration and Supervision programs.

She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree, Masters of Education Degree, and Educational Specialist Degree from Mississippi State University.  In 2013, she completed her Doctorate in Education at Delta State University.

Eddie Peasant

Eddie Peasant, Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor in the School of Education, began his tenure at William Carey University in July 2022. He is a 29-year veteran educator with twenty years of administrative experience and most recently, retired as superintendent of the Starkville Oktibbeha School District. A former Mississippi Administrator of the Year, Peasant’s experience as an educator also includes serving as assistant superintendent in the Tupelo School District and as principal of Clinton High School and Gulfport Middle School. He taught for nine years in the Jackson Public Schools and Escambia County Schools (Florida).

Peasant is a Past President of the Mississippi Association of School Administrators (MASA) and the Mississippi Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). He also served on the Governing Board of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and is a current Board member of the Program for Research and Evaluation of Public Schools (PREPS).

Peasant has served on the Mississippi Department of Education Accountability Task Force, Middle School Task Force, Student Testing Task Force, and Superintendent’s Advisory Board. He was also selected by Mississippi State University as its 2018 Outstanding Administrator, awarded by the Mississippi Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (MACTE).

Peasant earned his Bachelor of Music Education, Specialist in Education, and Doctor of Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also earned his Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Mississippi College.