John M. “Mac” Curlee III of Tupelo earned the Associate of Arts degree from Itawamba Junior College in 1969. He played football for the Indians and was selected to play in the North-South All-Star football game. While at IJC, he was a class favorite, selected for Who’s Who and served on the Student Council.
In 1971, Curlee received the B.S.E. degree from Delta State University, where he was vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and chosen for Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities. He later earned the M.Ed. degree from the University of Mississippi and the doctorate degree from Mississippi State University.
Curlee also coached and taught social studies at ICC from 1976-78. During this time, he served as the offensive coordinator of the state championship football team and helped initiate the first track team at ICC, which won the Delta State Invitational in its inaugural year. Curlee also served in various capacities in student services and recruitment.
He served as principal of Tupelo High School, Oxford School District, Forest Municipal Separate School District, Pearl Public School District and Booneville Municipal Separate School District. Curlee’s other background includes executive director of Public Education Forum of Mississippi and as a field representative for the University of Mississippi.
Curlee has received numerous awards including the MASSP Principal of the Year, Mississippi Educator of the Year, Milkin Family Foundation Award, Tupelo Public School District Administrator of the Year, runner-up for the Mississippi Administrator of the Year in 2001 and the Golden Lamp award presented by the Mississippi Association of School Administrators in 2002.
Curlee serves on the Administrative Board and as an usher at First United Methodist Church in Tupelo. He also works at the Free Clinic as a volunteer.
Curlee and his wife, the former Martha Lewis Gibbs of Fulton, also an ICC alumnus, have two children, Elizabeth and John.