The Center for Education Support at Mississippi University for Women has announced Penny Mansell as director.

“Penny Mansell demonstrates an outstanding ability to see the interconnectedness of the education-specific goals of multiple community partners and those of the School of Education, the resources needed and how our work together brings more support to improve educational opportunities within our communities. Penny is the right person to establish the foundation of the Center for Education and to help the School of Education set the course for supporting the education needs of those we serve,” said Dr. Martin Hatton, dean of the School of Education.

Since 2016, Mansell has served as the director of the Child and Parent Development Center located on The W’s campus. As part of the School of Education, the center provides a high-quality neighborhood preschool that works collaboratively with parents and the university community to ensure every preschooler learns and grows in a nurturing and fun environment, setting the foundation for a lifelong love of education and success in school and life.

As director, Mansell was a state and regional advocate for children and families and implemented compliance for licensure and accreditation. She also coordinated staff while managing budget, marketing and professional development needs of the center.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to be the director of the new CES. We are building off a fantastic foundation of education, advocacy and service at our university. Our goal is to continue cultivating a love of lifelong learning and teaching,” said Mansell.

In 2020, Mansell was awarded the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award by the Mississippi Board of Trustees and The W’s Diversity and Inclusion Award of Excellence.

Since 2023, she served as an advisor on the Early Intervention Task Force for the Mississippi Legislative Peer Committee. In addition, Mansell serves as a Mississippi Quality Support System Recommendations Team Member and an Excel by 5 Board Member.

She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of West Alabama and a bachelor’s degree with a public relations emphasis from The W.

Mansell said, “Starting from birth, lifelong education is the best change agent for society. Education drives everything from the economy, jobs and poverty rates to community sustainability. High-quality education can transform lives and communities. To be of high quality, teachers need continuous training and support. We are working to build the new CES team to make it all happen. We’re all excited to hit the ground running and get busy with priorities. We have vital work to tackle.”

The CES was founded on July 1 to offer a support arm to the School of Education at The W. The center replaced the Outreach and Innovation Center as one of the three primary departments in the School of Education, which also includes the Department of Education and the Child and Parent Development Center (CPDC). The center’s focus is education-specific professional development, camps and community initiatives that will complement the school’s mission to innovate from early childhood through post-graduation.

“The CES’s first focus is to collaborate and engage with educators to build and facilitate meaningful professional development and events to help them succeed. Part of our goal is also to help recruit and retain our graduates. We want to empower the curiosity of teachers of all levels and offer resources and opportunities for educators to gain new skills and personalize their professional growth,” said Mansell.

The Center will be led by the CES director who will manage the center, including staff and functions associated with Continuing Education Units (CEUs) offered through the Professional Learning Academy (PLA). An educator professional development coordinator will develop and manage education-specific professional development and camps/programs, including Mississippi Governor’s School. A professional learning coordinator will be responsible for coordinating day-to-day technical assistance, guidance and support professional learning efforts. An administrative assistant will provide additional support to the center.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.