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Mississippi Coordinators


Devon Brenner (EPFP '04-05)
Special Assistant to the Vice President for Education Initiatives, Office of Research and Economic Development and Professor, Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, Mississippi State University

Devon Brenner is Professor of teacher education in the College of Education at Mississippi State University in Starkville Mississippi and coordinates education initiatives in the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development. Brenner leads key initiatives for the university that include the Partnership Middle School with the Starkville-Oktibbeha County School District and expanding education research to support K-12 education in the state and beyond. Previously, Dr. Brenner was head of the Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education department in the university’s College of Education and an Education Policy Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in Washington, D.C. Brenner is currently co-editor of The Rural Educator, journal of the National Rural Education Association. Her research focuses on rural teacher recruitment and retention, rural education policy, and the implementation of literacy curriculum to promote reading and writing. Brenner has served as co-coordinator of the Mississippi EPFP program since 2016.


Biz Harris (EPFP '17-18)
Interim Director of Operations and Communications, Mississippi Early Learning Alliance and co-founder and principal, Communion Collective

Since 2016, Biz has worked with the Tallahatchie River Foundation as the Director of Communications and Engagement to advance the work of Tallahatchie County, Mississippi’s Pre-K collaborative and the foundation’s efforts to ensure that all Mississippi children thrive by 3rd grade. She recently coordinated a series of community conversations across the state and produced a report about Mississippians’ aspirations for young children. She is currently serving as the interim director of operations and communications for the newly formed Mississippi Early Learning Alliance, is the co-founder and principal of Communion Collective, a nonprofit and church consulting agency. A former high school art teacher, Biz with Master of Divinity degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology with a focus on Church & Community Leadership, Biz previously worked for Teach for America as an instructional coach and Director of Alumni Leadership, where she developed programming around education equity, policy, and teacher leadership. 

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