We at The Parents’ Campaign join with all Mississippians in mourning the passing and celebrating the life and legacy of Mr. Jack Reed, Sr., a visionary leader and a true champion of public education. Mr. Reed was the preeminent Tupelo business and community leader, an indomitable advocate for his fellow man, and the Republican nominee for Governor in 1987.
Throughout his adult life, Mr. Reed never cowered from taking a stand for public education. In the 1960s, he stood up to a State Legislature that preferred to close public schools and universities rather than let them be integrated, and he was successful in leading the Mississippi Economic Council, which he served as chairman, to support integrated public schools even as segregation academies sprang up throughout the state.
As the first chair of the new state board of education in the 1980s, Mr. Reed guided the successful implementation of the historic Education Reform Act of 1982. In 2004, he served alongside Governor Winter as co-chairman of the Coalition for Children and Public Education, traveling Mississippi to push for full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. He charmed audiences across the state with his quick wit and infectious spirit, referring to himself and Governor Winter, both in their eighties at the time, as “octogenarians for education.”
Mr. Reed believed in community, that we should work for the good of everyone, and he lived out that conviction every day of his life. Mississippi is a better place because of Jack Reed, Sr., and the world is a little dimmer with his passing. We at The Parents’ Campaign extend our deepest condolences to his family and our heartfelt gratitude for his life of courageous service.