JACKSON, Mississippi — The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) Board of Commissioners has named Dr. Tom Pearson, a native of Hattiesburg, as the agency’s new Executive Director. Pearson will begin his new position in early August, and will work with the Board and the 12 member staff to plan for the future of the agency.
“After six months of diligent work by the search committee, I am extremely proud of the outcome,” stated Kris Gianakos, MAC Commissioner and Search Committee Chair. “With over 170 applicants, tireless research and countless interviews, the result is that the best of the best was selected to lead MAC into the future.”
Pearson attended Hattiesburg Public Schools and received his Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He began his thirty-six year career in the field of education by teaching band at the elementary, middle and high schools levels and by conducting two community bands. He is also Past President of the Mississippi Bandmasters Association.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege for me to be able to return home and serve my state in this capacity,” said Tom Pearson, new Executive Director for MAC. “The arts play such a vital role in Mississippi’s overall economy, and our cultural heritage is the backbone of the vibrant Mississippi story. I am excited about the future as we continue to strengthen the voice of the state’s creative economy and to continue to tell our story through the power of the arts.”
Pearson went on to do his post graduate work at Berklee College of Music and the University of Miami. He received his Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership and Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University. Most recently, he served as the Arts Education Administrator for the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida, where he served arts teachers and students at 187 schools enrolled with 172,000 students.
Pearson served as the Vice President for Governmental Relations on the Florida Alliance for Arts Education Board of Directors and the Governmental and Community Relations Chair for the Florida Music Educators’ Association. He is past president of the Florida Music Supervisors Association and a past board member of the Florida School Music Association. He also served on the education boards of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the Norton Museum of Art. He is recently past-president of the Palm Beach County Administrative Staff Association and of the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. He is serving his final term on the seven-member Kennedy Center Advisory Board for Partners in Education.
Pearson was the recipient of the 2009 Florida Alliance for Arts Education Administration and Leadership Award for the State of Florida and guided the School District of Palm Beach County to the Kennedy Center/National School Board “School Board of the Year for Arts Education” in 2012.
The Mississippi Arts Commission is a state agency funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources. MAC is the official grants-making and service agency for the arts in Mississippi. The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education.