Making Connections Conference

The Literacy and Learning Summit will be threaded throughout the first two days of the Making Connections Conference.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Chuck Benigno
June 3, 2020

Chuck Benigno is currently an associate professor at William Carey University. Prior to this position, Dr. Benigno was the superintendent of the Laurel Schools and has also served as vice president for Student Services at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and principal of North Forrest High School and West Jones Middle School.

He has been named Who’s Who Among American Teachers, Coach of the Year and was the 2014 Mississippi “Superintendent of the Year”. Dr. Benigno was a participant in the Project Zero Classroom at Harvard University and is the author of Teaching: Excellence or Survival? He has served as a motivational speaker for schools and corporations across the Southeast and his passion lies in helping people reach their fullest potential.

Dr. David I. Steinberg, Ph.D.
June 4, 2020

David Steinberg has taught the lessons of leadership to thousands of people in the United States and from around the world. He has had the unusual experience of having served as principal of all three levels of school (elementary, middle, and high school), with a record of having led each school to a significant rise in academic achievement and improvement in school climate. Previously, he taught almost all grade levels, including primary aged students with multiple handicapping conditions, middle school gifted students, and high school students with learning disabilities.

He earned a B.S. in Political Science, History, and Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Brockport, a M.Ed. in Special Education from American University, and a Ph.D. in Education, Policy, Planning, and Administration from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Steinberg has been a keynote speaker and workshop leader at many conferences for businesses, non-profits, volunteer groups, and educational organizations. He has consulted with public school systems, private schools, colleges and universities. Previously he served as Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership at Hood College and as the Director of the Department of Professional Growth Systems with Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.

David has won awards for teaching, school leadership, and building parent, business, and community partnerships including the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.

He is the author of Lead Like the Legends: Advice and Inspiration for Teachers and Administrators (Routledge, 2016).

The Making Connections Conference (MCC) is THE teacher conference for Mississippi educators.  It is a collaboration effort between Southern Miss College of Education and Psychology and the Southern Regional Educational Service Agency (S-RESA).  


MCC is the opportunity to join teachers from around the state who care deeply about bringing the best innovative and practical teaching strategies to the classroom. This year's conference will provide educators with inspiration, practical skills, and the opportunity to expand professional networks with other educators from around the state.

2020 MCC Conference

June 2-5, 2020 at Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center

 Conference Cost

Regular: $195;

On-site: $225

Tabs will be activated as more information becomes available!

Hotel Information for the 2020 Making Connections Conference

Golden Nugget             


Scarlet Pearl Casino     



Imperial Palace             


Centennial Plaza                   


Conference Information

Mr. Mitchell Williams
June 5, 2020
Prayer Breakfast

Prior to being hired with FCA in 2011, Mitchell worked at WDAM-TV for 27 years, serving as sports director for 20 of those years. While at WDAM, the sports department was cited by the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters for excellence on 40 different occasions.


The creator of the award-winning SportsJournal, Mitchell helped provide coverage for over 15,000 different sporting events during his tenure. He was named Mississippi’s best sportscaster 8 of his last 10 years at WDAM.


A licensed and ordained minister, Mitchell has hosted an FCA sponsored retreat for leaders of his area's prep football teams every spring since 2004. Since 2012, FCA also hosts a similar retreat for prep female leaders in the Pine Belt Area. He leads a staff of 20 full-time, part-time and volunteer staff in Southeast Mississippi. His region includes over 130 middle and high schools, Southern Miss and William Carey Universities, and six community colleges which are Jones, Pearl River, MS Gulf Coast, Meridian, East MS and East Central. 


In addition to leading the Southeast Mississippi Region for FCA, Mitchell serves as the lead pastor, chaplain, and character coach for the University of Southern Mississippi football team.


He attended North Forrest and Southern Miss, where he lettered every year in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track. He was enshrined in the USM Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. He and his wife, Shelia, are the parents of four boys. They are members of Grace Temple Church of Hattiesburg.