Tom Burnham, Ed.D.
Interim Director, Principal Corps
After more than 30 years in public education—including serving twice as Mississippi state superintendent of education and as superintendent in Biloxi and Hendersonville, NC—Tom Burnham currently serves as the interim director of the Principal Corps. He is the program’s primary administrator and teaches courses on leadership and organizational management.
Dennis Bunch, Ed.D.
Coordinator of Educational Leadership
With more than 25 years’ experience in public education, Dennis Bunch has been a teacher, coach, principal and superintendent in school districts in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. He previously served as director of the Tennessee Academy for School Leaders while earning his doctorate at Vanderbilt University.
Jill Cabrera, Ph.D.
In August 2017, Jill Cabrera joined the UM educational leadership faculty. She has served as an associate professor for six years since completing her Ph.D. at UM. Dr. Cabrera also has 17 years of experience in public education as a classroom teacher and administrator in Texas.
Mary Ann Connell, J.D., LL.M.
Adjunct Professor, University Attorney Emerita
Mary Ann Connell teaches school law in the Principal Corps. She is a past president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, past president of the Mississippi Council of School Board Attorneys and a fellow of the The Mississippi Bar Foundation.
John Crutchfield, Ed.D.
John Crutchfield is passionate about K-12 school climate turnaround efforts with at-risk populations. Working as a school principal, teacher and instructional coach in secondary public and charter schools, his research focuses on the relationship between behavioral interventions and perceptions of student motivation. Dr. Crutchfield’s core turnaround strategies center on building trusting relationships with students and teachers, positively reinforcing desired behavior and ensuring consistent discipline practices.
Doug Davis, Ph.D.
Director of Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership
A former history teacher and administrator in Louisiana, Doug Davis is an expert in teacher assessment and professional development. He has published work in many academic journals and has presented research on leadership and educational philosophy at more than 50 national conferences. Davis also serves as interim director of doctoral programs in educational leadership.
Susan McClelland, Ph.D.
Chair of Teacher Education
Susan McClelland became the Principal Corps’ first director in 2009 and supervised four successful cohorts. A former English teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, she currently serves as chair of the UM Department of Teacher Education.
Ryan Niemeyer, Ph.D.
Chair of Leadership & Counselor Education
Ryan Niemeyer serves as chair of the Department of Leadership & Counselor Education and as director of the UM Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program. He previously served as the co-director of the Mississippi Teacher Corps and has served as a teacher and administrator in both public and private schools. His research interests include educational law and policy issues.