When former DeSoto Center Dean Richie Lawson left to assume duties as Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Vice President for Education earlier this summer, he knew he was leaving DeSoto Center in capable hands.
On July 1, Assistant Dean Jeremy Isome was named dean of DeSoto Center, Career-Technical Education Director Keith Reed was promoted to associate dean and Evening School Director Josh Filtz became assistant dean. The three will oversee both the Southaven and Olive Branch locations at DeSoto Center. “I’m very proud of this new administrative team and I respect each one’s abilities. I’m very comfortable with them in their new roles and fully expect that they will provide excellent leadership for the DeSoto Center for years to come,” Lawson said.
Isome began his career at Northwest in July 2006 as assistant director of Recruiting. He served in that capacity until January 2010 when he came to DeSoto Center as Evening School director. In August 2012, Isome was named assistant dean after the retirement of longtime assistant dean Elizabeth Burns.
As dean, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the center. “The administration here has to deal with the everyday issues. The center is a microcosm of the college all bundled up in one building, with the exception of the dorms and athletics,” Isome said. In the center, the academic classes and career-technical education classes are in the same building. “We have a wonderful faculty here. Both academic and career-tech instructors work side by side, along with our staff, and it is like a family,” Isome said.
Isome comes from what he calls a “Northwest family.” His grandfather, Dent Jackson taught at Northwest, and his grandmother, Linda Jackson was an instructor and college administrator. His wife Amy is a graduate of Northwest’s nursing program.
Isome attended Northwest and transferred to The University of Mississippi where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history. He received a Master of Business Administration from Delta State University. He also completed the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy in 2013.
Both Reed and Filtz will support Isome in his duties as dean. Reed, who graduated with associate degrees from both the Funeral Service Technology and Business Administration programs at DeSoto Center, came to Northwest as an adjunct instructor in 2005. He received his bachelor’s and master degree in business administration from Belhaven University and received a Specialist in Community College Teaching designation from Arkansas State University in 2012.
Reed is in a unique position in that he studied and taught both academic and career-technical classes at Northwest. He will assist Isome in the day-to-day operations of the center, and will still be the “go to” person for Career-Technical Education.
“I think we have a good, solid foundation here, and my primary goal is to support Dean Isome in any way I can to continue our path of success. I think we have been very successful here at the DeSoto Center in serving the students here and in surrounding counties. I’m excited about this new leadership role and the challenges it will bring. We have a wonderful group of people here, and that makes my job easier,” Reed said.
Filtz is also a product of Northwest. He earned his Associate of Arts in business and went on to The University of Mississippi at DeSoto Center to earn his Bachelor of Business Administration. Filtz was a 2+2 scholarship recipient at Northwest and an Ole Miss Ambassador. He earned his Master of Business Administration from Bethel University. Before coming to DeSoto Center as evening director, he worked as an executive MBA academic advisor at Bethel and an admissions officer at Baptist College of Health Sciences in Memphis.
He will support both Reed and Isome in their duties. “We will each have specific duties, but really we will work together to handle what comes through our doors,” Filtz said. Both he and his wife were 2+2 students, so when the opportunity to return to DeSoto Center to work came along, Filtz was happy to take it. “Northwest is home to me, and specifically the DeSoto Center, because basically I got my education within the walls of this building. I guess you could say I have come full circle. I started as a student and I came back here as an administrator. Now instead of being served, I can serve the students,” Filtz said.
All three men give both Lawson and Burns credit for mentoring them during the time they worked together, and for laying the foundation of what DeSoto Center is today. “Mr. Lawson gave me these opportunities for growth. He has put a lot of trust in me and given me a lot of support over the past four and a half years I worked with him. I learned a lot from him and from Mrs. Burns, even though I only worked with her for a short time. We still look to both of them as a resource,” Isome said. “We are striving to continue and build on the legacy that was left behind by Mr. Lawson and Mrs. Burns. We are always working to improve, of course, as DeSoto County is constantly growing, and we want to be a part of that,” Isome said.
Because the center is a commuter campus, Isome feels that the primary goal at DeSoto Center is teaching. “We as an administration need to do everything we can to support our faculty and staff to do whatever they need to do, and to have the resources they need to be able to serve the students. Ultimately, that is ours and Northwest’s goal,” Isome said. He noted that he is able to do his job because of the support he receives from Northwest President Dr. Gary Lee Spears. “I really appreciate the confidence Dr. Spears has placed in me and in the people we have up here. I appreciate the support he has given us in the past and will continue to give us,” Isome said.
What originally drew Isome to DeSoto Center was the feeling of community and family there. “We are a unique center in that you can come in the door to get a GED and leave with a master’s degree. And you can do all that in one building. It is a tremendous service to the community here. I don’t think people realize that,” Isome said.
For more information about DeSoto Center, visit the college’s website at www.northwestms.edu.
Story by LaJuan Tallo, Communications Assistant
Pictured: Northwest’s DeSoto Center’s new administration is (l-r) Keith Reed, associate dean, Jeremy Isome, dean and Joshua Filtz, assistant dean. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)