Dr. Debra Mays-Jackson

Dr. Debra Mays-Jackson, a Terry, Miss. native, is the vice president and chief of staff for Jackson State University. She provides oversight of the Department of Public Safety, Title III, Student Affairs, and legislative issues.

Before JSU, she gained valuable experience in higher and secondary education, having served most recently as the first woman vice president of Hinds Community College-Utica Campus. There, she supervised operations of the Utica and Vicksburg-Warren campuses and was responsible for administrative services at all six HCC campuses that included EEOC, affirmative action and civil rights.

Her collegiate experience at HCC-Utica after Terry High School was the start of her successful association with that institution, where she earned an associate of arts degree in music education with an emphasis in piano performance. Dr. Mays-Jackson’s tenure in administration at Hinds resulted in the following achievements –

  • Increased enrollment at the Utica and Vicksburg campuses, with Utica experiencing a 37 percent hike in 2016-17. It was the highest of all HCC campuses. And a 25 percent increase at the Vicksburg Campus.
  • At Utica, she re-established the agriculture program, which is the historic foundation of the campus; increased external funding to more than $8 million, including financial support from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation; facilitated revision of and created new student support programs for academic success; managed the Utica Campus’s HBCU Title III funds which she facilitated an $8 million renovation of the Student Center and $2 million Cosmetology and Barbering facilities and Campus Marquee; established a collaborative relationship with the Utica Campus National Alumni Association and the Utica and Vicksburg communities; gained recognition as a Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Administrator in 2017; and she established the “Vice President’s Scholarship and Hall of Honor Gala” recognizing Utica Campus Alumni and Community Supporters. It raised more than $100,000 in scholarship funds in just two years.
  • At Vicksburg, she was involved in requesting and gaining approval for a new $10 million multi-purpose complex and established the River City Early College in collaboration and support of the Vicksburg-Warren School District.

As part of her lifelong commitment to education, she served as an adjunct professor at JSU in the Education Leadership Department.

Dr. Mays-Jackson earned a bachelor of arts degree in music for piano performance; a master of arts in music education; and specialist degree in education administration from Jackson State University. In addition, she earned a doctorate from Mississippi State University in education administration and supervision.

Dr. Mays-Jackson also serves on the Mississippi Department of Education Teacher Licensure Commission.

Her other accomplishments include Phi Theta Kappa National Distinguished College Administrator in 2017, Mississippi Department of Education’s 2012 Administrator of the Year Congressional Finalist, featured in “Portico Jackson Magazine” in June 2011 as “one of Mississippi’s outstanding administrators”, One Church One School’s 2010 Outstanding Educator of the Year, Mississippi Scholastic Press Association’s 2009 Administrator of the Year, and principal coach for Jackson Public Schools.

She is married to G. Torrie Jackson, Jr., and they are the parents of two sons, Cameron and Kendall.