Partners in Leadership
Pearl River County

309 N. Main Street
Picayune, MS  39466
601-590-2130 Phone


Leadership Team:

Kim Alford
Kelli Beech
Veronica Causey
Monshell Clemmons
Clyde Dease, Jr.
Dr. Tricia Knight
Scott Langlois
Rod Lincoln
Micah Necaise
Shirley Wiltshire
Jo Woods

Chairman Emeritus:

Glade Woods


Program Coordinators:

Alan Lumpkin
Superintendent Pearl River Centeral School District
Dean Shaw
Superintendent Picayune Municipal School District

Environment, History, Culture & Tourism:
Pat Drackett
Manager of Crosby Arboretum

Field Trip to State Capital:
Herb Frierson
MS State Representative
Ms. Jo Woods

Health & Human Services:
Derrick Turnage
Pearl River County Coroner

Law Enforcement:
Kelvin Stanford
Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office

Leadership II:
Pam Covington
NASA Director of Public Relations

Scott Langlois
Mississippi State University
Ms. Jo Woods




Partners in Leadership is a ten month, non-political, grass-roots training program designed to teach Pearl River County leaders and residents the particulars of community and club leadership, local and county government basics, county economic development issues, health and human services, local history, literature and arts, environment challenges, educational system basics, and local resources available to community leaders. It is driven by participant needs assessments and measurement to ensure students get the leadership skills and knowledge they expect from the program. It is taught by approximately 100 community leaders and experts at different meeting locations across the county. Under the guidance of the leadership staff, participants will select and work-on a worthwhile community project with their team applying their new skills and talents. The team will have an opportunity to report back to the community their success. This course also affords an opportunity to network with a broad group of the counties movers and shakers. A highlight of the class is a visit to the State capital in Jackson to tour the capital and meet with local legislators about topics of interest to the county.

Summary of the 12 sessions

Each year the agenda for the leadership program changes slightly depending on the needs of the participants, local issues, availability of instructors and meeting locations, but generally the program follows the same monthly theses and objectives as noted below:

(1) Initial Reception (early August) - The purpose is to bring in the new class, with their spouses, to prepare them for the retreat, answer all questions they may have, introduce the staff, introduce prominent county leaders that have completed the program and have teambuilding with everyone. The reception is coordinated by the previous years' class officers and sponsored by MSU. The previous President serves as the Master of Ceremonies and the officers coordinate the agenda, refreshments, etc. It is held at the Picayune Intra-modal Railroad and Tourist Station.

(2-3) Two Day Retreat (mid to late August) - Day 1 focuses on the participants learning about themselves and their classmates. Day 2 continues team building activities but focuses on community change and opportunity. Activities are arranged to take advantage of participant energy levels and meal breaks as much as practical. Program design is compacted to maximize participant learning, complete necessary retreat tasks and create a crisp interesting participative format. The flexibility of the format offers each participant an opportunity to draw from the knowledge of the large community leadership staff that guides the programs. The retreat is evaluated by participants at the end of the second day and after most monthly sessions to ensure it is meeting the needs of each one. This is held at the King's Arrow Ranch in Lumberton, MS.

(4) Leadership 1 (September) - This program focuses on teambuilding, personal leadership, communications, project selection and planning. Many leaders understand the skills of leadership but don't understand how to be leaders. The Leadership Success model brings together all of the pieces to help them understand the importance of their actions. A number of highly interactive communications activities open the learners up to an evaluation of how well they actually listen and communicate with others. The new officers lead their first meeting to discuss class activities, plans and projects with guidance from the staff. This program is sponsored by Coast Electric in Picayune.

(5) Education Day (October) - Education Day is coordinated by two of the three Pearl River County school district superintendents (both alumni of this program). The program is held at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, the only college in the county. The sessions very interactive and informative. Most new participants come into the program thinking education is the counties biggest problem and is easy to fix. They are surprised to find out how little they know about this topic. This session offers participants to really understand the needs and challenges of the educational system with the counties top education experts.

(6) Health and Social Services Day (November) - This program is coordinated by the County Coroner, Derrick Turnage, an alumni of the program. It is held at and sponsored by Highland Memorial Hospital in Picayune. This agenda changes from year to year to reflect changing medical/social issues, new vendors or areas of particular interest. Speaker time is short to cover many different topics in a short time. It includes a tour of the new state-of-the-art hospital.

(7) Leadership 2 (December) -This second Leadership program is coordinated by the Curricula Team and is held at Stennis Space Center (SSC). Pam Covington, Public Relations Manager for NASA and a member of our original curricula team, coordinates the Stennis activities. A site director usually gives a motivational presentation about leadership with an aerospace twist to kick the program off. The rest of the agenda is driven from the participant needs assessments collected at the retreat. Conflict management has been a priority for each Leadership 2 class, otherwise; all of the rest changes annually. Typical sessions on this day may include topics such as: "Motivating Your Followers", "Managing Change", "Building Your Team", "Crisis Communications", "Time Management", so forth. This day includes a tour of SSC to help leaders understand the resources available there.

(8) Government/Economic Development Day (January) - This program has been previously held at the United States Department of Agriculture in Poplarville. The day starts off with a class simulation followed by noted speakers from MSU on how city, county and state government works. A panel discussion of Pearl River County city and county officials discuss challenges, opportunities and successes they have had as leaders and some of the issues that are most pressing to them. After lunch, a noted speaker on Economic Development explains what it is, how important and difficult it is and the demographics of the county versus what new businesses are looking for. A panel of Pearl River County's top Economic Development leaders discuss specific issues related to the county and region.

(9) Visit to the Jackson (February) - State Representative Herb Frierson, Chairman of the MS House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, is our host. Herb schedules a tour of the capital, our introduction in both the senate and the legislature, an informal networking and panel discussion with our representatives telling the class what they are working on, their estimates of what will and won't pass. Participants get to discuss briefly their opinions and ask questions. After a late lunch, we tour the old state capital.

(10) Environmental, History, Tourism and the Arts Day (March) - This session starts at the I-59 Welcome Station with a discussion of local tourism and then moves to the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune. Much of the discussion of the day is the diversity of the county. Participants are reminded of the many writers and artists from the county, the unique archeology and history of the area, and the local environment. Pat Drackett, the Arboretum Manager, and alumnus of the program, coordinates the day and provides a discussion and tour of this award-winning arboretum.

(11) Law Enforcement Day (April) - Is held at the Pearl River Justice Center and Prison in Millard, MS and sponsored by the Sheriff's Department. It is coordinated by the Chief Investigator in the District Attorney's Office, an alumni, Kelvin Stanford. Law enforcement professionals from across the state and from numerous agencies come to discuss crime, law enforcement issues, and the judiciary. This is a favorite because they hear from everyone, from the city police departments, to crime experts, to the DA, how good and bad things really are.

(12) Graduation Day (early May) - This session is held at Picayune's First Baptist Church and is open to all city and county officials, past alumni of the program, the media and families of the class who are "graduating." The agenda morning always includes a final evaluation of the program and closure with the students. Before lunch each team presents their class projects (5-8 minutes) to the graduation attendees and have lunch. A noted guest speaker addresses the class and does the handing out of diplomas.

Award Winning:

In December of 2004, Partners in Leadership was awarded the prestigious American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), New Orleans chapter, Program Design Award for its content and design qualities. "Under the sponsorship of Partners for Pearl River County, the County's economic development arm, this class has a staff of local leaders with years of professional experience to instruct the course of study. The program design is rigorous and uses highly interactive teaching techniques that guide tried-and-true leadership precepts that serve corporate, community and government leaders alike. The class affords students the opportunity to hear state, county and city officials speak on relevant topics and to engage in well-informed dialogue with participants."

"What's Expected of Participants:

1. To be considered, applicants must completely fill out the participant application and pay their tuition on time.

2. To graduate, students must complete the entire two day retreat and at least seven of the nine full day monthly sessions and complete their team service project to get a diploma. If a person cannot attend a monthly session they are encouraged to attend the session the following year.

How to Join:

Click to Download an application from this page or call Partners for Pearl River County at (601) 590-2130.