Angela Rutherford

Professor of Teaching Education, Director of the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instructon, and Region 7 Comprehensive Center Missssippi Coordinatior

Angela Sykes Rutherford

Dr. Angela Rutherford serves as a Professor of Teacher Education and the Director of the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction.


Dr. Angela Rutherford has more than 30 years of experience in public education. She has actively served on numerous national, regional, state, and local committees and task forces focused on ensuring that students receive equitable access to effective teachers and leaders and that schools engage with communities in supporting their students’ achievement. Her degrees are from Auburn University (Ph.D. in Reading Education) and the University of Southern Mississippi (M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision and B.S. in Elementary Education).

As Director of the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction (CELI) over the last 15 years, Dr. Rutherford has served as principal investigator on many different grant awards. She has secured over $13 million in funding across a myriad of projects. These different projects focus on providing K-12 students’ access to effective teachers, resources, and opportunities so that they are successful learners across the areas of school readiness, summer learning, and community engagement to include engaging college students as volunteer literacy and early childhood teachers or tutors. In her work with the MS Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, she provides technical support to communities that seek to rally around schools to ensure that children read on grade level by the end of grade three.

She serves on the Mississippi Reading Panel, the Utah Expert Reading Panel, the Mississippi Early Reading Policy Team, and the REL Southeast Governing Board. As Director of the university’s lab school, she assisted the preschool in becoming one of the best in the state. She is a nationally-certified trainer of Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). Finally, she was appointed to the Mississippi State Early Childhood Advisory Council by Governor Tate Reeves and volunteered to serve on the Family Support and Access subcommittee. Dr. Rutherford was instrumental in assisting key senators, MDE administrators, as well as Governor Phil Bryant’s education policy advisor, in helping to write Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act, 2013. This pivotal legislation has provided many levers for improving literacy achievement in Mississippi.

While serving as president of the Mississippi Higher Education Literacy Council, an organization of reading faculty members from all educator preparation programs across Mississippi, Dr. Rutherford led faculty members to complete work related to more effectively prepare elementary teachers to address the literacy needs of students. Being challenged by colleagues with a philosophical stance rather than a focus on the science of reading, she did not waver in standing firm on the conviction that Mississippi K- 12 students deserve teachers who understand and can implement literacy instruction that is based on the science of reading. Her focus on adhering to the research base is evident across all of the projects.

Curriculum Vitae


B.S. Elementary Education, University of Southern Mississippi (1988)

M.Ed. Educational Administration, University of Southern Mississippi (1993)

Ph.D. Education, Auburn University Main Campus (2003)