Monday, December 04, 2006

Governor Winter to Address MTC

In what has become an annual occurrence, former Mississippi Governor William Winter will speak to the members of the Mississippi Teacher Corps on Saturday, December 9th as part of Dr. Andy Mullins’ Leadership class. Dr. Mullins, the Co-Director and Co-Creator of the Mississippi Teacher Corps, served as Special Assistant to the Governor from 1980 to 1984. Dr. Mullins was part of the fabled “Boys of Spring,” a group of young staff members pushing for educational reform. Gov. Winter’s signature act was the Mississippi Education Reform Act of 1982, which, among other things, created kindergarten for all Mississippi children. The Education Reform Act also opened the door for alternate-route teacher certification, which in turn, led to the creation of the Mississippi Teacher Corps in 1989.

“Year in and year out, Governor Winter is far and away everyone’s favorite speaker,” said Dr. Mullins. “We are honored that he takes time out of his busy schedule each year to come and spend time with the Teacher Corps students.”

Dr. Mullins recently published a book collecting Governor Winter’s most memorable speeches and writings, titled “The Measure of Our Days.” “The book has sold out of two printings,” said Dr. Mullins. “Governor Winter and I have been traveling all over the country doing signings and readings. It has been great to see old friends.”

William Winter served as Governor of Mississippi from 1980 to 1984. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Mullins’ preface to “The Measure of Our Days.”

The noted author, David Halberstam, called William Winter his favorite politician and personal hero. In his dedication address for the William F. Winter Archives in and History Building on November 7, 2003, Halberstam said:

I believed for a long time that America would not be whole until Mississippi became part of it, and you [Winter] more than any other politician are the architect of the new Mississippi and the new America… What made you special as a politican was in the end something elemental in all of our best politicians-a faith in the nobility of ordinary people, and a belief that if spoken to with candor and decency, they can rise to the occasion. It is nothing less than the most basic premise of a working democracy. Have faith in the people and their better nature. You understood the importance in this state, of the special burden of the past, and the responsibility to the future and again and again in your decisions, and blended mercy and compassion and a sense of justice against the harsher pressures of immediate political necessities.

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