- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bryant is replacing a member of the state Board of Education with a member of the state’s Charter School Authorizer Board.

Danny Spreitler of Amory, who was appointed to the state school board in August, sent a letter to Bryant on Jan. 16 saying he was resigning.

Bryant appointed charter board member Karen Elam of Oxford, to fill Spreitler’s seat. The Senate must confirm Elam to a term running until 2021.

Spreitler said Friday that he resigned because three employees at the Gilmore Foundation, where he’s executive director, have suffered “catastrophic illnesses.” The foundation runs a preschool program in Monroe County meant to expand the availability and quality of preschool offerings.

“I couldn’t be (in Jackson) and fulfill my obligations there and fulfill my obligations here,” Spreitler said.

Elam is a consultant who represents food and drug ingredient associations on regulatory matters. Before that, she was senior director of consumer and scientific affairs and senior director of nutrition and consumer affairs for Nabisco. Earlier, she was a professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Missouri and Michigan State University.

“Mississippi students are capable of great success if we work to ensure public schools are meeting their needs,” Elam said in a written statement. “I am grateful to Gov. Bryant for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Education, and I am committed to building excellence in Mississippi’s K-12 education system.”

Bryant spokesman Knox Graham said Elam, who has been on the charter board since it began operations in fall 2013, will remain on the charter board. Bryant appointed his former education adviser Johnny Franklin to the Board of Education last year, and he has also remained on the charter board. The board has authorized two charter schools, both in Jackson, in two rounds of operations.

Franklin and Spreitler have pushed for changes in how the Board of Education operates, pushing the board to take a more active role in setting policy.

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