Talk to Erika Berry for long and the conversation will wind its way around to education policy.
“As technology continues to advance and our marketplace becomes more global, public education is going to have to innovate so that every student graduates as a 21st century careerist,” Berry says.
The Brandon native speaks from experience having been a product of Rankin County public schools and a math teacher for Teach For America in Charlotte, N.C. She also helped canvass for various charter schools in Nashville, Tenn., and was a Citizen Schools teacher in Charlotte where she taught healthy eating practices to middle schoolers.
With a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Mississippi, a master’s in public policy from Vanderbilt University and graduate work experience at the Tennessee Department of Education, Berry was a frequent champion for charter schools on radio, social media and in local newspapers.
“Our public schools cannot continue to do the same thing we’ve been doing for the past several decades and expect all of our children to compete nationally or internationally,” she says. “Kids in Mississippi are just as capable of success as kids in Massachusetts or Finland.”