Although Zackary Huffman of Houston is only a college sophomore, his passion about education policy has inspired him to become an advocate for students.
Majoring in public policy leadership at the University of Mississippi, Huffman, 19, became the lone candidate for an open position on the Houston Board of Education Trustees before the Jan. 24 application deadline. Pending clearance from the Mississippi School Board Association that the Houston School District has followed procedures required without holding an election, he is scheduled to be sworn in Thursday (March 10) for a five-year term.
“I decided to run for the Houston school board to push an agenda centered on creating an environment for students to excel in,” said Huffman, a graduate of Houston High School. “I am very passionate about education policy and wanted to become an advocate for students. It is crucial for people to assess Mississippi’s and America’s performance in educating our youth and implement appropriate and effective policy. This is what I intend to do alongside my other colleagues.”
Huffman, whose minor is political science, was attracted to UM by the Lott Leadership Institute, which nurtures students majoring in public policy leadership in the College of Liberal Arts. Part of the institute’s mission is to prepare students to assume positions of leadership in an increasingly complex world.
“I chose Ole Miss for my college education primarily because of the program I was accepted into, the Lott Leadership Institute, and because of the superb professors, learning environment, people and social atmosphere,” he said. “There is just something about Ole Miss that calls you, and once you arrive, you are hooked.
Huffman’s eagerness to serve comes as no surprise to Bob Haws, chair of the Department of Public Policy Leadership.
“Zack is exactly the kind of student we look for to join the Lott Leadership Institute,” Haws said. “We tell our students to get outside of their academic and social confines and get engaged in society, and that’s exactly what Zack has done. There’s so much talk among our students about education, and this is a perfect example of a student who is actually engaged, doing something to help others, and this is very appealing.”
Listed on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll, Huffman expects to graduate in summer 2013. Following graduation, he plans to attend law school while completing his term on the school board.