The North Madison County Economic Development Council (NMED) was formed in April 2016, by a small group of individuals residing in the north Madison County rural communities of District 5 and other Madison County residents who have vested interests, as determined by the NMED Board, in economic development in north Madison County. NMED grew out of concerns for the lack of economic growth in the north Madison County communities of District Five. NMED is a 50l(c)(3), nonprofit organization with a strong Board of Directors. Membership consists of the Board of Directors only. The Board shall have a minimum of five voting members and a maximum of eleven voting members. All members serve on a volunteer basis.


There are six officers of the Board, consisting of a Board Chair, First Vice Chair, Second Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Financial Analyst. These six officers serve as the Executive Committee. All powers and authority of this Board reside with these six officers. General board members serve on the Board of Directors, have voting rights and work within the guidelines of board practices and Bylaws, but are not members of the Executive Committee. The current makeup of the Board consists of eight voting members and three Ex officio members. Ex officio members serve by virtue of the public office they hold and at the will of the Board. Ex officio members do not have voting rights. The Board shall have the authority to establish and define other non-voting categories of membership.


Dr. Pallascene Bright Cole

Chair, NMED

Dr. Pallascene Cole is a semi-retired education consultant. She has served as a teacher, principal, counselor, district test analyst, state bureau director for school improvements and school superintendent. Dr. Cole has started up operations and staffed two new schools. She started a non-profit education and mentoring training business and sponsors various scholarships and community related projects. Dr. Cole has served as an adjunct instructor at both community college and higher education, and has served as a board member at the community college level. Dr. Cole is a credential director for early child care, State of Mississippi, and an approved trainer for MS Child Care Licensure for the MS State Department of Health. Dr. Cole serves on numerous boards promoting the well-being of the elderly, veterans, and youths. Dr. Cole was instrumental in starting up the newly formed North Madison County Economic Development Council in 2016, and has served as the Board’s Second Vice-President and now presides as Chairperson. Dr. Cole and her husband, George, a principal emeritus resides in North Madison County and have two children and three grandchildren.

Earnestine Bilbrew

First Vice-Chair

As a founding member of the North Madison County Economic Development Council, Ms. Bilbrew has a passion for promoting economic development, and helping individuals realize their dream of homeownership. As President/CEO of Bilbrew Consulting Services LLC, she has over forty years of experience in banking, finance, housing and community development. As Community Lending Officer with Trustmark National Bank, she implemented and managed the Community Lending Department where she was instrumental in creating loan products and services that focused on financially challenged individuals such as serving as a founding member of the IDS Home of Your Own Program, and Mississippi Homebuyer Education Center (MHI). As a founding member and current advisor to Mississippi Community Financial Access Coalition (MCFAC), she implemented the MS Children Saving program and a five-week financial education boot camp to teach individuals the importance of developing net worth by building good credit, accessing low-cost banking products and preparing for homeownership and small business. Since 1992, she has served as a MS licensed Real Estate Broker/Owner of Bilbrew Realty Inc. attaining certifications as an Accredited Buyer Agent and a Military Relocation Specialist. In addition, she is a certified USDA Rural Development Loan Packager.

She is married to Robert Bilbrew, Sr, retired USPS Executive and US Army Command Sergeant Major- and an avid community partner. They have three children and three grandchildren. Ms. Bilbrew believes that sustainable economic development can only be achieved through the integrated, collective viability of all individuals, families, communities, government and businesses. She welcomes your comments and suggestions as we work to make our community a more vibrant and thriving place to live.

Pollia F. Griffin, Ed.D.

Second Vice-Chair

Dr. Pollia Griffin retired as Associate Superintendent of Education from the Madison County School District in June of 2014. Her thirty-six year career as an educator included serving as high school teacher, elementary principal, director of federal programs and associate superintendent. She has also served as adjunct instructor for Tougaloo College and Jackson State University. In addition to serving on the Board of the North Madison County Economic Development Council, Dr. Griffin volunteers with the North Madison County Excel By 5 Initiative, and is the District 5 School Board Representative for the Madison County School District. Dr. Griffin is a graduate of Jackson State University, with a doctorate degree in Early Childhood Education and emphasis in Educational Leadership and Administration. She and her husband, a small businessman, reside in the Farmhaven community of District 5. They have one son and two grandchildren.

Doris A. Sutherland

Board Secretary 

Doris Sutherland is currently retired after working with the Illinois Department of Human Services for 32 years. She was the local office administrator of an office that served more than 10,000 families, providing the means to acquire medical, financial and food assistance. And provided direct and indirect supervision to more than seventy employees. She also allocated time to be a volunteer tax preparer for low income households for many years. She is a graduate of Governor State University, In University Park, IL, with a BA in Business Administration and Management. She currently serves as Madison county poll manager in Camden, MS. She and her husband moved back to Camden, MS in 2008. Currently, her passion is working very hard as a volunteer to increase and improve economic development in north Madison County communities where she lives.

Dr. Mary Sims-Johnson, MSW, LCSW

Board Treasurer

Dr. Mary Sims Johnson, MSW, LCSW is currently the Executive Director of Madison County Citizens Services Agency (MCCSA). Additionally, she is a Graduate Adjunct Professor with the School of Social Work at Jackson State University and she is an Independent Consultant. She previously work at Catholic Charities (27) years as a Program Director and she served as a Member of the Executive Administrative Team. Dr. Johnson holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Tougaloo College in Psychology, a Master of Social Work Degree from USM in Hattiesburg and a Ph.D. in Social Work Administration, Policy and Planning from Jackson State University.   She has over 40 years of experience in the areas of Administration, Financial Management, Supervision, Grant Writing, Training and Field Instruction, Graduate Professor, Clinical, and Program Development. She has received Regional and National Awards, Appointments and Special Recognitions. She describes herself as a “Servant Leader” to service with Love and Justice.

On November 9, 1996, Dr. Johnson was selected the Top Middle Manager out of eight States by the Southeastern Network of Youth and Family Services in Atlanta, GA.

In December of 2017, Dr. Johnson was selected The “2018 Executive Director of Community Action Agencies by the Mississippi Association of Community Action Agencies” .

On June 19, 2018, Dr. Johnson was recognized in Washington D.C. by U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson for outstanding leadership. Dr. Johnson received a Congressional Record Entry in the 115 Congressional Session.

Diane Shaw Day

Financial Analyst 

Diane Day is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and has practiced public accounting for over thirty years. She has practiced public accounting in the state of Mississippi since 1989. Over the years, she has provided specialized and technical services to clients, which include Auditing, Accounting, Taxation, Computer Applications, Fixed Asset Management, and Financial Management Consultation/Advisory Services for public, private and governmental agencies and organizations. Diane Day was the first Financial Advisor appointed by the Mississippi Department of Education to oversee the financial recovery of a public school district in the state of Mississippi. Since that time, she has been selected to oversee the financial recovery of eight additional public school districts over a period of twenty plus years. She was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy from 2003- 2007. Her gift from God is one of service to her family, friends, and community, state and people in general.

Willie J. Cline, Major US ARMY Retired

Board Member 

Major Willie J. Cline is a graduate of Alcorn State University and a retired Commissioned Officer of the United State Army Adjutant General Corps. He served in many positions while in the military, such as Executive Officer, Deputy Commander, Company and Field Grade Commanders. Major Cline is also a graduate of basic and advanced Adjutant General School, Combined Armed Services School, and the Command and General Staff College. He received the Joint Service Accommodation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Defense Service Medal. Upon Retirement from the Military, he served as Director of the Army JROTC program, at Velma Jackson High School, Camden Mississippi. Currently, he is a Real Estate Developer and recently completed the infrastructure for a gated community in North Madison County. Major Cline also serves as the President of the Valley View Voluntary Fire Station Board, Member of City of Canton Mayor’s Advisory Board, Board Member of the Women in Unity for Christ, Inc., Member of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church Deacon Board, and member of 100 Black Men of Canton.  Major Cline is married to Cynthia McCullough Cline, and they have two children, Michael and Melissa.

Ed Hightower

Board Member

 Ed Hightower is a Mississippi native. He was born and reared in Durant, MS and attended Durant Separate Schools. Ed has always had a passion for people and has served in many, many communities throughout his adult life. He now resides in Flora, MS and is presently serving and mentoring in the north Madison County area. He is currently employed by Sacred Heart Catholic Mission as Minister of Music and Religious Education Coordinator.


Supervisor Paul Griffin

Madison County Board of Supervisors — District 5

Senator Barbara Blackmon

Mississippi State Senate — District 21

Representative Kenneth Walker

Mississippi House of Representatives — District 27
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