In 1909, an educator named Laurence C. Jones discovered that the illiteracy rate in Rankin County, Mississippi, was above 80 percent. Considering this inexcusable, Jones founded the Piney Woods Country Life School with the goal of educating the sons and daughters of the impoverished citizens -- some the children and grandchildren of former slaves -- of the county. Now in operation for over a century, the Piney Woods School is one of only four historically African-American boarding schools in the United States and continues building upon Jones' mission that, "all students can learn, develop a strong work ethic, and lead extraordinary lives through academic achievement and responsible citizenship."
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Will Crossley, Ed.M.'95, president of the Piney Woods School, reflects on education leadership, being the first alumnus to lead the school in its 105-year history, and whether he enjoys eating chicken nuggets with students.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.