Julia Weaver of Ocean Springs is a longtime advocate for children and public schools and is one of the founders of Fed Up with 50th, a statewide public education advocacy group. She has been a volunteer at Oak Park Elementary, Taconi Elementary, Ocean Springs Middle School and Ocean Springs High School, all in Ocean Springs.
Julia has been active in community affairs in her adopted hometown, including chairing the annual fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Ocean Springs, serving on the board of directors for the United Way of Jackson/George Counties and volunteering with St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Ocean Springs Garden Club. She served as alderman at large in Ocean Springs from 2004 to 2009 and chaired fundraising efforts that raised and disbursed more than $500,000 in private donations to help Ocean Springs rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.
A proud graduate of Murrah High School in Jackson, Julia received her bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College and a Master of Divinity from Harvard University. Julia owns a consulting firm, which provides project management, fundraising and communications services to nonprofit and public-sector clients. Julia is married to Robert Wiygul, and the couple has two teenage daughters.
Leslie Fye of Starkville has been an active advocate and cheerleader for public education since 2005. She has served on a PTA or PTO board in her school district since her first child entered kindergarten. In 2010, she served as PTA co-president of Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary and was named parent of the year. She has also served on her district’s Executive Council in various positions and participated in the work to transition her district from PTA to a PTO.
In addition to PTA and PTO, Leslie is a board member of the Starkville Foundation for Public Education. This organization raises money for teacher/classroom grants to promote innovative education in the classroom in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District, as well as managing several college scholarships for local high school graduates. Leslie is also a member of PEO, an organization dedicated to promoting education for women. She has served as PEO vice president and president.
Leslie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the founder and executive director of Starkville Counseling Associates, a private group practice that provides counseling for children, adolescents, adults and families. She is an active member of First Methodist Church of Starkville, where she serves on the Missions committee and is a Sunday school teacher and a founding member of the Starkville Chapter of Mission Mississippi, a Christian organization dedicated to racial reconciliation. She is married to Don Fye and has two children in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District.
Tupelo resident Kate Farabaugh has been involved in Tupelo’s public schools ever since her first child entered kindergarten. She currently serves as PTO president at Carver Elementary and Tupelo High School. In 2012, her love of public schools grew even deeper after graduating from the Parents for Public Schools Parent Leadership Institute, sparking a desire to become more engaged as a public school advocate.
Kate has been a member of several sports booster clubs at Tupelo High School, participates in Tupelo Public School District’s Parent Advisory Group, teaches CPR to ninth-graders at Tupelo High, has served on Tupelo Schools Bond Issue Committee, volunteers at a local clothes closet and is involved in her church, Calvary Baptist. Her involvement with Charity Ball helped raise funds to directly aid the children of Tupelo and Lee County.
Additionally, Kate has worked to support Tupelo’s Pre-K program, the Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC). She helped launch the very first PTO at the school and served as co-president. She applied for and has won two grants to help fund the school’s Whole Schools Initiative, an arts education program.
In 2015, Kate was named Parent of the Year for the Tupelo School District and later named the Congressional District 1 finalist for Mississippi Parent of the Year. A Tupelo Public School District graduate, Kate earned a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from the University of Mississippi. For the past 17 years, she’s been working as a pharmacist at the North Mississippi Medical Center.