Governor Kemp of Georgia Re-Elected SREB Chair

News SREB News Release
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia

Cumings Smith of Kentucky re-elected vice chair, Tennessee’s White re-elected treasurer

Mizell of Louisiana is new legislative chair, Chaudhuri of N.C. is vice chair

Governor Brian P. Kemp of Georgia will serve a second one-year term as chair of the Southern Regional Education Board. He was re-elected by the board at its annual meeting June 23 in Dallas.

As SREB chair, Kemp leads the collaborative work of governors, legislators and state education leaders on SREB’s 80-member board to improve public education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education.

As governor, Kemp’s education priorities have included improving literacy for K-12 students, addressing teacher shortages and compensation, increasing broadband access, particularly in rural areas of the state, and aligning education and workforce. He launched Georgia Match, a direct admissions collaboration among Georgia’s education and finance agencies, last fall.

“The efforts across Southern states to educate students, develop our workforce, and equip them for the jobs of today and tomorrow have significantly contributed to the South now leading the North in GDP growth,” the governor said. “I am honored to serve another term as chair of the Southern Regional Education Board and look forward to doubling down on our collaborative approach to drive innovation and transformation in our education system.”

“We look toward addressing some important career pathway and credentials issues this year under Governor Kemp’s leadership,” SREB President Stephen L. Pruitt said. “His support SREB has been invaluable, and we are grateful to have it again this year.”

Felicia Cumings Smith of Kentucky was re-elected vice chair of the board. She has served on the SREB board since 2020. Cumings Smith, president of the National Center for Families Learning based in Louisville, began her career as a classroom teacher. She previously served as an assistant superintendent of the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, an associate state education commissioner in Kentucky and senior director for U.S. regions of the National Geographic Society.

State Representative Mark White of Tennessee was re-elected the board treasurer. He has served on the SREB Legislative Advisory Council since 2014 and joined the SREB board in 2018. Representative White took office in Tennessee in 2010. He chairs the House Education Administration Committee and serves on the K-12 and higher education subcommittees. A former principal of the Harding Academy in Memphis, he is director of college leadership and public service at Lipscomb University in Nashville. He lives in Memphis.

Beth Mizell, Jay Chaudhuri to serve as Legislative Chair and Vice Chair

State Senator Beth Mizell of Louisiana was elected the chair of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Legislative Advisory Council at the meeting.

Mizell of Franklinton has been a business owner for 30 years, spending her career in early childhood education and development. 

State Senator Jay Chaudhuri of North Carolina was elected was elected the vice chair of SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council at the meeting.

Chaudhuri was elected minority whip for the 2019-20 session. He lives in Raleigh. 

The SREB Legislative Advisory Council serves an important advisory function to the Board as members help set priorities for SREB work.

Any legislative member of the board is also a member of the LAC during their time on the Board. Additional members of the LAC are appointed by the governor, or in Kentucky by the presiding officer of their chamber, and serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

Legislative Advisory Council members must be serving state legislators. There is no set number of LAC members from each state, though SREB encourages representation from both legislative chambers.

Contact: Janita Poe, SREB News Manager, at or 404-879-5516, ext. 216

The Southern Regional Education Board works with states, districts and schools to improve education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education and the workforce. An interstate compact and a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region.