About the Institute

The Barksdale Reading Institute works to improve the overall quality of public education in Mississippi through strategic literacy initiatives and the providing professional development to teachers and administrators.

BRI was founded in 2000 by Jim and Sally Barksdale, who, after researching the state of education in America, became convinced that reading is the most fundamental skill that every child must master in order to become successful.

The Barksdales’ $100 million dollar donation established the Barksdale Reading Institute and funded the Mississippi Principal Corps, a program that trains and develops highly-effective school administrators throughout the state. The Barksdales’ generosity has enabled us to partner with public schools, public universities and the state department of education to dramatically improve the quality of reading education in Mississippi’s schools.

BRI Programmatic Priorities
To significantly improve the pre-literacy and reading skills of Mississippi's children.
  • Parent Academy

    Goal: to improve the quality of early childhood experiences and kindergarten readiness through parental/family engagement

  • Literacy Professional Development

    Goal: to significantly improve the quality of K-3 literacy achievement by designing and disseminating a gold standard of professional development & pre-service education

  • Partnerships

    Goal: to significantly improve the quality of pre-service teacher preparation and grade level reading through state and national partnership

  • Principal Fellowship

    Goal: to strengthen the knowledge base and capacity of school leaders to build a healthy school culture and effectively support literacy development

In The News

BRI CEO Transitions to New Role in Jackson Public Schools

Jackson Public Schools