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Governor announces eight major appointments

Gov. Tate Reeves recently announced multiple appointments to key positions within state government.

“I was proud to appoint these individuals to key positions within state government,” said Reeves. “Each has the skills and experience to make a positive impact on the lives of Mississippians. I have no doubt that they’ll do a great job, and I thank them for stepping up to serve our state and her people.”

Dr. William J. “Bill” Ashley was appointed executive director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Since 2020, Dr. Ashley has served at the Mississippi Development Authority as director of Business Research and Workforce Development. Prior to this, Dr. Ashley served as president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Dr. Ashley holds a Ph.D in community college leadership from Mississippi State University and a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Business from Delta State University.

Rhoshunda Kelly was reappointed commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance. Prior to her appointment by Reeves in March 2021, Kelly served in a variety of key roles at the department, including deputy commissioner, director of bank supervision, and field examiner. With over 20 years of regulatory experience, Kelly was named a 2019 Leader in Finance by the Mississippi Business Journal and serves on the Conference of State Bank Supervisors Board of Directors. Kelly holds a master’s degree in banking from Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi State University.

Billye Jean Stroud was appointed to the Mississippi State Board of Education, representing the Third Supreme Court District. Stroud’s background includes 25 years in higher education working with educational funding and financial literacy, and eight years devoted to community development initiatives. Since 2018, she has served as director of Community Development and Main Street for the City of New Albany. For 15 years, Stroud was a relationship manager for Discover Financial Services, where she focused on student loans. Stroud also served as director of Financial Aid and Scholarships for Mississippi College School of Law for eight years. She holds a master’s degree in higher education from Mississippi College and Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi.

Matthew “Matt” Mayo was appointed to the Mississippi State Board of Education representing the First Supreme Court District. Mayo currently serves as chief banking officer for Community Bank of Mississippi. Prior to this role, Mayo served in a range of capacities for Community Bank, including executive vice president of Corporate Operations, chief lending officer for the Pine Belt Region, and senior vice president. Additionally, he served in a variety of capacities for Regions Bank and BancorpSouth. Mayo serves on the Northwest Rankin High School Booster Club Board. He was previously an advisory board member for the Dubard School of Language Disorders, a board member for the Lamar County School District and Oak Grove Athletic Association. Mayo is an alumnus of the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking and holds a Master of Business Administration from Samford University and Bachelor of Science from the University of South Alabama.

Donald Clark Jr. was appointed to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, representing the First Supreme Court District. Clark is currently of counsel to Butler Snow LLP. He previously served as chairman of the firm for 14 years, ending in 2019. As chairman, he oversaw the operations of the firm and helped grow it from 120 to 400 attorneys. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and a J.D. from the University of Mississippi.

Jerry Griffith was appointed to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, representing the Second Supreme Court District. Griffith has over 40 years of experience in government. His previous experience includes serving on the Mississippi Gaming Commission, as a Bank Secrecy Act manager, examination manager, and an internal revenue agent. Griffith served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Delta State University.

James “Jimmy” Heidelberg was appointed to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, representing the Second Supreme Court District. He is a founding partner of Heidelberg, Steinberger, Burrow & Armer P.A and has practiced law since 1978. Heidelberg has been listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” since 1999. In 2013, he was selected as “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Medical Malpractice and in 2016, he was selected as “Lawyer of the Year” for the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the area of personal injury litigation. Since 2012, Heidelberg has been appointed as a member of the Mississippi Oil & Gas Board by three lieutenant governors and previously served as its chairman. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and a J.D. from the University of Mississippi.

Charles “Charlie” Stephenson was appointed to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, representing the Third Supreme Court District. Stephenson is currently the CEO of Heartland Natural Resources LLC and manager of the Stephenson Family Foundation. His previous experience includes serving as CEO and COO to multiple natural resource companies. He is president of the Mississippi State Bulldog Club Board of Directors, serves on the Mississippi State Foundation Board of Directors, and is an advisory board member for Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering. Stephenson holds a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi State University.

“I’d like to thank the outgoing IHL board members for their years of distinguished public service and many contributions to our state,” said Reeves. “I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

All eight nominees will be submitted to the Mississippi Senate for confirmation.