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Mississippi state Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham has announced that he will step down to lead a new education consortium.

Mr. Burnham will be the executive director of the Gulf Coast Education Initiative, based at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

The consortium will serve 16 of Mississippi's Gulf Coast public school districts, along with the Catholic diocese of Biloxi and and two Louisiana dioceses.

The superintendent will take a cut in salary, dropping from $104,000 a year to $85,000. He steps down at the end of December.

During his tenure of just under six years, Mr. Burnham helped enact Mississippi's "adequate education" program, which was intended to ensure that the state's 503,900 students get a high-quality education, regardless of the wealth of their school districts. He also formed the Mississippi Teacher Center to help attract and retain capable teachers.

Members of the National Alliance of Black School Educators have chosen Lois Harrison-Jones as their president-elect.

Lois Harrison-Jones

Ms. Harrison-Jones is a former superintendent of the Boston and Richmond, Va., public schools and a former deputy superintendent in Dallas. She was also an associate professor of education at Harvard University's graduate school of education in Cambridge, Mass.

Ms. Harrison-Jones plans to expand membership and services, as well as increase visibility and the organization's participation in education policy development when her two-year tenure begins in 1999.

The 6,000-member, Washington-based organization comprises superintendents, principals, teachers, school board members, and university presidents.

After nearly eight years as the dean of Pennsylvania State University's college of education, Rodney J. Reed has announced plans to retire.

Under Mr. Reed's leadership, the college has forged numerous partnerships with school districts to advance the development of school professionals and school reform efforts.

The dean also helped establish the Elementary/Middle School Urban Teacher Education Program in Philadelphia.

--ADRIENNE D. COLES [email protected]

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