Staff

Jane Beach
Clearinghouse Director

Jane Beach worked in the commercial mortgage banking industry for 27 years prior to becoming Clearinghouse Director for PPS in 1998.  An active member of the Jackson chapter of PPS and a product of public schools, she and her husband Paul have two sons, Todd and Ross, also public school graduates. Jane serves as a board member for the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. At PPS, she provides valuable resources to PPS chapters and others, while also overseeing operations, accounting, and financial support for grant writing. Jane has long been a passionate advocate for public education, and when she isn’t busy giving heart and soul to PPS, she enjoys traveling and being a grandmother.

LaShron "Shonnie" Cooley
Administrative Assistant

LaShron “Shonnie” Cooley is the Administrative Assistant and Schoolhouse to Statehouse Site Coordinator in Mississippi for PPS. She is the proud mother of two daughters—who both graduated in the top 10 of their classes at Jackson’s Callaway High School—and a son who is an eighth-grader at Jackson's Powell Middle School. One of her daughters is now a sophomore at Jackson State University, and the other recently graduated. She has served on several committees for the Jackson Public Schools and in several PTA/PTSAs and Site Councils and remains an active public schools parent. “Shonnie” is the devoted backbone of PPS and keeps the office and off-site events running smoothly.

Dr. Catherine Cushinberry
Executive Director

Dr. Catherine Cushinberry is a native of Memphis, TN.

Prior to coming to PPS, she was the Director of Research for Girls Inc. She was responsible for program evaluation, measurable outcomes, and secondary data research and analysis. Prior to her role with Girls, Inc., she served as an Executive Director of a Boys and Girls Club and was responsible for multiple sites and opened a teen center. She was responsible for fundraising, staff development, marketing, and grant writing. Also, she has worked with nonprofits such as 4-H, United Way, Cheers to the Designated Driver, and grassroots organizations such as Camp PROMISE and Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy (J.U.I.C.E.).

She serves as adjunct faculty at Union University, Marian University, and Indiana University and teaches undergraduate and master’s courses in research methods and family studies.

Chiquikta Fountain
Parent Coach
Delta MS

Chiquikta Fountain is a full-time Parent-Coach for PPS in Cleveland, MS. She has more than five years of experience in the Mississippi Delta, where she has coordinated service projects for the betterment of the community, provided professional development programming and raised funds for various nonprofits. She received her journalism degree at Delta State University and is a candidate for a Master of Business Administration from Delta State. She has worked for AmeriCorps and the Children’s Defense Fund. Community development is a passion of Chiquikta’s, and she has worked as a volunteer in her hometown of Cleveland for many years. She has a son in Mississippi public schools and is committed to helping parents become the engaged partners in education who build stronger schools.

For information about PPS work and activities in the Mississippi Delta, please contact Chiquikta Fountain at cfountain@parents4publicschools.org or call 662-721-0613.

Sally Gray
Parent Coach
Northeast MS

Sally Gray is a full-time Parent-Coach for PPS in Tupelo, Miss. She is a native of Vicksburg, Miss. Formerly a teacher's assistant for nine years in the Tupelo public schools, she received her law degree from the University of Mississippi and practiced law for seven years. Active in her church, community and the public schools, she and her husband have three children—two in college and one who now is married to a schoolteacher. Parents count on her expertise and knowledge in helping them become better advocates for their children and schools.

For information about PPS work and activities in Northeast MS, please contact Sally Gray, sgray@parents4publicschools.org or call 662-401-3897.

Joann Mickens
Chapter Services Director

Joann Mickens is the Chapter Services Director for PPS, responsible for providing assistance and support to the PPS national network of chapters. A former teacher with 20 years of management experience with Bellsouth Telecommunications, she owned a training and consulting business before joining the PPS staff in 2006. A dedicated supporter of public schools, she has been a member of the Jackson chapter of PPS almost since it was founded, and has two children who are graduates of Jackson Public Schools. She delights in working with PPS chapters to help them make a difference.

Victoria Peters
Parent Coach
Pine Belt MS

Victoria Peters is a full-time Parent-Coach for PPS. She has worked the past 17 years with churches and non-profit organizations in Hattiesburg, Miss. She also worked for three years as a career center technician at Hattiesburg High School. Active in her church and community, she and her husband have two children, including a recent graduate and a current high school student, and one grandchild who attends public schools. She has worked for three years training parents to be leaders in public education and organizing the community around education—giving her work the seriousness it deserves on behalf of her neighbors.

For information about PPS work and activities in Pine Belt MS, please contact Victoria Peters, vpeters@parents4publicschools.org or call 601-408-0551.

Julius E. Rainey, Jr.
IT Director

Julius E. Rainey Jr. is the Information Technology Director for PPS. Originally from Greenville, Miss., the heart and soul of the Mississippi Delta, he attended public schools there and then earned degrees from  Tougaloo College and Jackson State University. He is a member Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Toastmaster’s International, and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN). He serves on the board of directors of the nonprofits Mississippi First and F.A.I.T.H (Fathers Active In the Hood). An inspiration to all who work with him, Julius loves to listen to gospel music as he taps his “inner geek” on behalf of PPS.

Myya Robinson
Parent Coach
Gulf Coast MS

Myya Robinson is a full-time Parent-Coach for PPS in Pascagoula, Miss., working with parents on the Gulf Coast. A native of Moss Point, Miss., and lifelong resident of Jackson County, she formerly was the director of communications for the Moss Point School District, and earlier was a reporter and producer for WLOX-TV news in Biloxi. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She and her husband have three daughters, including two who are old enough to attend local public schools. Myya is a well-known personality on the Gulf Coast who brings joy to her many efforts—through her work and charity—to help people have better lives.

For information about PPS work and activities on the Gulf Coast, please contact Myya Robinson, mrobinson@parents4publicschools.org or call 228-223-1983.

Nita Rudy
Program Director

Nita Rudy is the Program Director overseeing PPS’ Parent Leadership Institutes in Mississippi—work that is expanding to other states. She also leads the PPS Schoolhouse to Statehouse program in Mississippi. Previously, she worked for seven years with the Center for Parent Leadership in Lexington, Ky., where she worked with community groups developing and running parent leadership programs in 11 states. Her work has helped raise national awareness of how parent involvement can improve student achievement. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, she now lives with her husband in Jackson. She brings her best to helping PPS spread its work to other states and communities across the country.

For information about the Parent Leadership Institute and the Schoolhouse to Statehouse program, please contact Nita Rudy, nrudy@parents4publicschools.org or call 1-800-880-1222.