Board of Directors


George Cossar, III lives in Senatobia, Mississippi. He is employed by Entergy Mississippi and serves as the local Customer Service Representative. George serves on a number of non-profit boards. He is past chairman of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi which serves eleven northwest Mississippi counties. George is past president of the Senatobia Rotary Club and the Tate County Economic Development Foundation.  He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Mississippi Economic Council, which is the state’s chamber of commerce.  George is married and has three children; a daughter and a son who currently attend Ole Miss and a daughter at Magnolia Heights School.


Teri was born in Corona, California, raised in the community of Looxahoma and has now lived in Independence for 34 years. Teri is married to Dennis Hawkins, a life-long resident of Independence, and they have two sons, Clint and Blake. Teri holds a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi in elementary education, in English, and in History. She also earned her National Board of Certification in 2005. Currently, Teri teaches at Northwest Mississippi Community College. She is a member of the Mississippi Association for Gifted Children and the National Council of Teacher of English.


Joe Sharp is a lifelong resident of Tate County. He and his wife, Marilyn, have assisted others as churches have been planted in several areas of north Mississippi. Over the years he has served as an associate pastor in several churches. Now, he is full time pastor at the Fountain of Life Church near Independence.


Richard is a lifelong resident of the Greenleaf Community. He is married to Jo Todd and they have owned  and operated  Todd’s Feed and Hardware in Independence since 1993 . They have four children, Shawn, Michelle, Jacelyn and Deston and seven grand-children. Richard and all four children attended Independence High School. Richard has served on the Tate County School Board since 1992. He also serves on the Tate County Economic Development Foundation and on the Oversight Committee for the Independence Voluntary Fire Department. Richard is an active member of the Greenleaf United Methodist Church where he teaches Sunday School.


She was born and raised in Milan, TN until moving to Hernando, MS during high school. After graduation, she attended Northwest Jr. College, Mississippi State, and later MS College.  After teaching elementary/gifted education for 30 years in Charlottesville, Virginia and Jackson, MS, she retired to Coldwater, MS. She has been very active with MS Educators Association and now Retired Teachers of MS.  She is currently active with Coldwater Optimist Club, serving as the in-coming president. She enjoys serving and fellowship with Coldwater Baptist Church family through Children’s Ministry, Choir, and Primetimers (Senior members).  She has 3 grown children and 1 granddaughter.


Howard Thompson was born in Hernando, Mississippi. He is a graduate of Hernando High School, Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he served as Vice President of the Student Council, Delta State University and has two graduate degrees in Administration and Supervision from the University of Mississippi. Howard has served as an administrator since he was 28 years old. His professional career includes serving as a principal in the formerly Memphis City Schools, now Shelby County Schools, Briarcrest Christian Schools, and administrator of Kirby Pines Retirement Estates. He and his wife of 56 years, Jamie, founded the Independence Arts Conservatory  in October, 2009 to provide Performing Arts and Leadership opportunities for young men and women in grades four through twelve from four counties of Northwest Mississippi – Tate, Desoto, Marshall and Panola. Howard is a member of Mt.Zion Baptist Church in Independence where he has also served as a deacon since 1964.


Native Mississippi resident, Matthew Ricks is no stranger to the IACCC.  He has been a proud parent supporter as his oldest children, now young adults, were among the first students to attend when the IACCC originally opened.   Matthew is the son of Charlotte and the late Charlie Ricks of Independence.  He graduated from Independence High School, attended Northwest Mississippi Community College, and Memphis Electrical Training Program.  He received certification by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as an electrician in 2001.    His occupational accomplishments include earning his 20-year pin and serving on the Executive Board for Local 474.  Although his trade has caused him to live and work in various places across the United States, his home and heart has always been in Independence.  He currently resides in the community of Alphaba with his loving wife of ten years!  Together, they are a blended family who have been blessed with 5 children!  Matthew and his family are active members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church serving on various committees and leadership positions.  He is honored to be chosen to serve on the IACCC board, and looks forward to seeing how God uses the IACCC to grow student’s talents to use for His glory.


Lynda Scruggs Blount, born in Independence, Mississippi, graduated from Independence High School and attended Northwest Mississippi Junior College.  Married to Ellis Blount for 58 years, they were the proud parents of 2 sons, Michael Ellis and Cameron Kyle, who are now in Heaven waiting for them.  They have three adult grandsons, Kyle Avery and his wife, Lauren, , Michael Cayman and Kenzee Steven and their daughter-in-law, Kenda.  Cayman and Kenzee spent a good part of their young lives enjoying the many activities offered at IACCC.  Except for a short time of approximately 1-1/2 years, Lynda has lived her entire life in Independence.  Many varied, interesting and challenging secretarial careers have been enjoyed.  They have included working at Chromcraft, Inc as Personnel Secretary for seven (7) years;  School Secretary at Hillcrest Academy for eight (8) years; Tate County Superintendent of Education receptionist for three (3) years; She is currently employed at Trunkline Gas Company in Independence, as Senior Field Coordinator and has been with them for the past 37 years. Lynda and Ellis are active members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Independence.


Craig Shideler lives in Senatobia, Mississippi. He is presently the President/Chief Executive Officer of Mississippi Land Bank which is comprised of 6 branch and 3 satellite offices in North Mississippi. MSLB is a Farm Credit cooperative lending money to farmers and non-farmers for operating needs, equipment improvement and land purchases. MSLB is over $700 million in assets with 42 employees. Craig has been employed with MSLB since 1978 holding various positions throughout his career. He has a B.S. degree from Mississippi State University in Agriculture Economics and a Banking degree from LSU.  He is a certified General Appraiser. Craig is age 64 and married his wife, Calvert, in 1978.They have three children and five grandchildren. In the past, he has served as president of the following organizations, the Rotary Club, Hope Ministries, Emmaus Board, Senatobia Chamber of Commerce, He now serves as Kappa Sigma House Corp. Board President, Church Board President, Montgomery Island Board Member, Defined Benefits and Retirement Board Member for farm Credit Bank of Texas in Austin and Ag First Bank in Columbia, SC. Craig has been selected a Tate County Citizen of the Year and has served as lay leader and speaker for Walk to Emmaus . He has worked on several Chrysalis and Chrysalis Crossroads which are the teenage versions of Walk to Emmaus.