Dr. Bethany McKissick, President
Dr. Bethany R. McKissick, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Mississippi State University. She received her bachelor’s and Masters in Special Education from the University of Kentucky. In 2012, she graduated from University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a doctoral degree in Special Education with an emphasis on students with severe disabilities. For 15 years, Dr. McKissick has provided services for individuals with disabilities in a variety of capacities. In 2014 and 2015, Dr. McKissick was honored for her research in the field of teaching general curriculum academics to students with moderate to severe disabilities. Dr. McKissick serves as the faculty advisor for Mississippi State University student chapter of CEC and provides professional development and advocacy services across the state.
Kathy Dickerson, President Elect
Kathy Dickerson is the Director of Special Education Services for the Lee County School District in Tupelo Mississippi. Throughout her professional tenure she has served as a mental health counselor, special education teacher, school counselor and assistant principal. She has dedicated her career to advancing the personal, social, emotional and educational needs of the students she has worked with. Kathy earned an Ed.S. from the University of Mississippi and is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor for the state of Mississippi.
Kathy has been presenting at local, state and national conferences for the past 15 years. Her common sense approach and humor engage audiences and leave them inspired to “Be a Hero”. As for the future of special education services, Kathy envisions an inclusive community that celebrates diversity, sets high stands, and strives to equip every individual with the skills necessary to achieve personal and professional goals.
Mark Yeager, Vice President
Dr. Mark Yeager has been in service to people with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1975. His experiences range from being a classroom teacher to program developer creating new and innovative community-based programs. Dr. Yeager is considered the foremost authority on autism spectrum disorders in the State of Mississippi. He has dedicated his professional career to advocacy and leadership in this field. His contributions are not limited to Mississippi. He is the author of the Autism Bill of Rights. This document guides the service delivery system outlining the obligations we all have in serving individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
Dr. Yeager earned his Doctoral Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. He both developed and taught the first classes solely dedicated to the topic of autism spectrum disorders at any Mississippi institution of higher learning. His teachings are greatly sought after and include a lecture series provided to the Minister of Education of India as well as a guest lecturer in England. In addition to his many lecture offerings and presentations, Dr. Yeager is well published in several languages and consults with schools, universities and other autism programs across the United States.
Dr. Yeager is currently the Department Chair for Special Education at William Carey University. He also serves as the Executive Director of TEAAM Autism. TEAAM Autism’s main offices are located at The Center Ridge Outpost, the organizations adventure base camp that is the home of one-of-a-kind adventure-based programs of which Dr. Yeager is the Founder.
Carol Ann Franklin, Treasurer
Presently teaches special education in the Clinton Public School District where she has been employed since 1975. She received her undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University in 1975, and her Master’s degree from Mississippi State in 1978. She earned National Board Certification in the area of Exceptional Needs in 2000. She was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Clinton Junior High School in 2003 and 2015. Carol Ann has been a member of CEC for numerous years and has held the office of treasurer for the past six years
Dr. Terri White, Past President
Terri R. White, Ph.D. N.B.C.T. currently serves as the Gifted, Special Services, and Elementary Curriculum Director for the Jones County School District. She is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the gifted program, the special services program with over 1,000 students, and the school district’s transition to Common Core State Standards in grades kindergarten through six. Additionally, she is the coordinator of the grant for the school district entitled, “Dyslexia Detectives,” where cumulatively students have made gains of 10,099 scale score points from their fall universal screener to the winter universal screener. She has spent several years as an elementary and middle school teacher, an instructional facilitator, an assistant principal, a supervising principal, the district testing coordinator, and then finally her present position. She has served as Jones County School District “Teacher of the Year,” as well as Jones County School District “Administrator of the Year.” Finally, she especially focuses her work on twice exceptional learners and how to reach and teach this population. She is the mother to three young men and one awesome boy and most recently one precious, beyond measure, grandson. Two of this cadre of guys is twice exceptional learners!
Executive Board Members
Debbie Hubbert, Membership, Grants and Awards Coordinator
Mrs. Hubbert earned her Master of Education from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. She received certifications in numerous areas of Special Education in the state of Georgia, Ohio, and Mississippi. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL. As a Special Education teacher, she has proven her skills in the classroom as a valuable instructor; her success is evident in the repeated progress she accomplishes in working with children of various rulings. Currently, she is employed with Jackson Public Schools.
Bobby Richardson, Divisions Coordinator
Bobby currently serves as an Educator in Residence at the Mississippi Department of Education, Office of Student Assessment. He works on implementing state assessments related to IDEA students and in transitioning the current portfolio-based alternate assessments to the new online alternate assessments. Before joining MDE in 2014, Bobby spent 14 years working in elementary, middle, and high school special education. He has taught resource, inclusion, self-contained, and regular education reading. He has also worked as the coordinator of the school-based enterprise and with at-risk high school students to prepare them for the GED. Bobby has worked at the district level as the teacher of incarcerated youth, homebound instructor, and intervention specialist/district support team co-chair. For the past two years, Bobby worked as the Transition Coordinator and GED Options Coordinator for Nettleton School District. He worked with teachers and students at the middle and high school level on designing and implementing effective transition plans. He also worked with students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD) and their high school subject-area teachers on alternately assessing these students.
While he was in the classroom, Bobby’s personal goal was always to make school a place of success for all students. He created and ensured that there were opportunities for every student to be successful by taking each student’s needs into account. Bobby continues to lead with passion and integrity. He is currently involved in Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Children and Youth Action Network, (CAN) Coordinator for state of MS, Division on Career Development & Transition (DCDT), Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD), and MS Professional Educators (MPE).