DREAMS Come True: MSU/LMSD lands $1.9M education grant

From press reports


The College of Education at Mississippi State University, the Louisville Municipal School District and the MSU Foundation & PREPS, INC recently received a grant in tribute to Dr. Susan Gregory Dillard.

The Dillard’s Reading, Enrichment, Arts, Mathematics, and Science (DREAMS) after school and Summer Program is funded through a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. The $1.9 million grant will provide services to student in kindergarten through fourth grade in the Louisville Municipal School District. The grant will initially serve 150 to 200 at-risk students in kindergarten through 4th grade.

Mayor Will Hill welcomed everyone to the press conference Monday night and noted the positive impact the grant will have not only educational for the students but as an economic development tool.

Dr. Richard Blackbourn Dean of College of Education stated that all his dealing with Dr. Dillard were positive and he enjoyed working with her.

“This grant is going to be so good for little boys and little girls in this community.”

Dr. Teresa Gammill Assistant Vice President for Research thanked everyone for helping get this project started in the school district. “This will bring better education to our state.”

Ken McMullan Superintendent described the grant. He thanked Dr. Teresa Jayroe, Associate Dean of College of Education, for working so diligently with Louisville Municipal School District. He stated that it was only fitting that Dr. Dillard’s legacy live on through this grant.

Dr. Teresa Jayroe began working on this grant with Dr. Dillard in 2010 just shortly before she passed away. Jayroe has been instrumental in gaining the grant and was also instrumental in the gaining the CAPPS grant for the community 5 years ago. Dr. Jayroe is a Winston County native and highly involved in many aspects of education at MSU and in the county.

Mark Dillard, Susan’s husband, stated that Susan was determined to not leave any student behind and would be proud to see this for the local children.

“This is a bittersweet moment but one that fills us all with pride,” said Mark Dillard.

Dr. Dillard’s father, Gale Gregory, stated that she always prayed about every decision. He noted she loved MSU, she loved her family and the children she taught.

Trish Cunetto Development Officer led in the closing remarks and along with Dr. Jayroe presented two gifts to the Dillard and Gregory family in memory of Dr. Susan Gregory Dillard.

The DREAMS program will provide students with academic enrichment opportunities that promote the arts, health, science, mathematics, technology, and literacy. Academic tutoring and enrichment will improve vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension, mathematics fluency and number sense, and problem solving skills using interventionists during the school day. Necessary resources, tools, technology, and personal assistance will be provided to complete homework assignments and projects. Test preparation assistance and courses of interest to help students develop skills, build character, and expand experiences in the arts will also be provided.

The program will help provide 17 interventionists during school hours, an afterschool program and a 20 day summer program to help fight summer learning losses.

Susan Gregory Dillard (August 26, 1966-June 20, 2013) was a tireless advocate of education and an inspiration to students and teachers. The DREAMS grant represents that ideals and goals that were central to Dr. Dillard.