Public Education Forum

The Public Education Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan education policy research group created by a broad cross-section of business, education and political leaders in Mississippi.  Founded in 1989, the Forum is committed to being the leading independent force for public education in the state.  The mission of the Public Education Forum is "Committed to Excellence in Mississippi's Public Schools."  The Mississippi Scholars Program is managed by the Public Education Forum and began in 2003.

Ingalls’ McIngvale Elected Chair of
Public Education Forum of Mississippi

Toyota’s Suggs to Serve as Vice Chair

Jim McIngvale, Director, Government & Community Affairs of Ingalls Shipbuilding, has been elected as Chair of the Mississippi Economic Council’s subsidiary the Public Education Forum of Mississippi (PEF). Sean Suggs, Vice President of Manufacturing for Toyota Mississippi, has been selected as Vice Chair PEF.

McIngvale, a founding member of PEF, has been associated with the field of communications, public, governmental and community affairs for more than four decades. He joined Ingalls in 1977 as a photographer, and has advanced through positions of increasing responsibility in the company. He assumed his current duties at Ingalls in August 2016.

Active in Mississippi civic and community affairs, McIngvale is chairman of the board of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. He also serves on the Board of Governors of the Mississippi Economic Council. He represents Jackson County as a member of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and serves as treasurer of that board. He is a past chairman of both the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation. He is a graduate of MEC’s Leadership Mississippi program.

A founding member of The Mississippi Military Communities Council (MMCC), he served as the organization’s chairman from 1996-2004, and currently serves as the organization’s vice-chair. McIngvale is a 1976 graduate of The University of Mississippi. He resides in Pascagoula with his wife, Nancy.

Suggs is responsible for all areas of automotive manufacturing at Toyota Mississippi including body operations, paint and assembly and encompasses all areas of engineering, production and maintenance. Prior to taking over as manufacturing vice president, Suggs served as the vice president of administration at Toyota’s Blue Springs plant that produces the Corolla, Toyota’s highest volume selling vehicle in the world.
Suggs’ automotive career began in 1998 at Toyota’s vehicle assembly plant in Princeton, Ind. where he was hired as a Team Leader. During his 10-year tenure, he served several roles and was named general manager of quality planning in 2008.

From 2011-2013, Suggs served as director of strategy, administration and human resources from at Nissan’s North American headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. During his time with Nissan, Suggs also directed production quality at the company’s manufacturing and assembly plant in Canton.

Suggs currently serves as a board member for the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi, the Toyota Wellsprings Endowment Fund Advisory Board, the Community Development Foundation and the Tree of Life Clinic. In the past, Suggs supported several state and regional nonprofit and economic development organizations in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Suggs earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from Auburn University in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science degree from Oakland City College in Oakland City, Ind. in 2000. Suggs and his wife, Janet, reside in Saltillo.

Public Education Forum of Mississippi Awarded

$40,000 Walmart Grant


The Public Education Forum of Mississippi will receive a $40,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program to assist with the Mississippi Scholars and Mississippi Scholars Tech Master programs.

The grant will be presented at a local Walmart Superstore on Thursday, Dec. 22 and will go directly towards sustaining and expanding both programs. The grant is a part of the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program which supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better and have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.

Both Mississippi Scholars and Mississippi Scholars Tech Master positively impact the local community by encouraging and motivating students to be workforce and career ready. Mississippi Scholars is designed to recognize students to pursue and meet specific standards in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Furthermore, the program targets the middle 50% of students who can do well but need the extra motivation. The Mississippi Scholars Tech Master curriculum is designed to recognize students to pursue and meet specific standards in a tech-prep course of study and reward them for hitting specific benchmarks. Students earn a medallion, certificate, and seals for the high school transcript and high school diploma for each program.

“Mississippi is at a critical point. Making an investment in our future workforce today and producing workforce-ready graduates will pay great dividends for our state’s future,” according to Blake Wilson, President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council.

“At the Walmart Foundation, we understand that organizations such as The Public Education Forum of Mississippi are essential to building stronger communities. They are committed to helping Mississippi students prepare for the workforce or higher education upon graduation from high school and achieve success in a global economy. Through this donation, we are hopeful that residents in Mississippi will benefit by increasing workforce and career readiness skills,” said Tice White, Director of Public Affairs for Walmart. “Through this donation, we are hopeful that residents in Mississippi will benefit by increasing workforce and career readiness skills.”