Miller named new director of MAC facility

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 18, 2009

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health has selected a newpermanent leader for Brookhaven’s Mississippi Adolescent Center,one that comes with years of administrative and personal experiencein the field of mental health.

Jackson’s Shirley Miller arrived in Brookhaven this morning toassume her duties as director of the MAC, formerly known as theJuvenile Rehabilitation Facility.

“I’m coming to a place I’m looking forward to working in, peopleI’m looking forward to working with and clients and families I’mlooking forward to supporting,” Miller said. “I found this was aplace I felt I could assist in helping the people who live here ingetting a good foundation and for the people who work here to havea great place to work.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Miller has more than 20 years experience in the field, and haspreviously served with MDMH as the director of Early InterventionServices and deputy director for the Bureau of Intellectual andDevelopmental Disabilities. She is also a licensed MentalHealth/IDD (individualized disposition docket) administrator, aCertified Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Therapist and anEarly Intervention Specialist.

Miller’s experience in the field is not just acquired, however.She has a son with a developmental disability who now is gainfullyemployed, owns his own home and is active in his church andcommunity. Another of Miller’s sons is currently pursuing agraduate degree in the field at Jackson State University.

“I know how it feels. I know what families need, what familiesneed to know,” Miller said. “I’ve seen that intervention makes allthe difference in the world. My whole family has gravitated towardthis field because we know what can be done.”

Now that she’s on the ground in Brookhaven, Miller said herfirst priorities are to get to know her new staff and clients, meeta few Brookhavenites and become part of the community. She stillhas duties in Jackson and plans to split time between the twocities for now, she said.

Importantly for Brookhaven, Miller’s new job at MAC seems tosignify MDMH’s commitment to the facility. MAC has gone through aperiod of uncertainty lately, beginning in early summer whenlongtime director Regina Terry Hebert retired. More questions aroselater in June when the State Board of Mental Health ordered a planof closure for the facility, later saying the plan was for ajust-in-case situation and the facility was never intended to beshut down.

“We’re gonna make it,” Miller said. “I plan to be here for agood while.”

Board of mental health member Johnny Perkins, of Brookhaven,said he was pleased with Miller’s appointment to MAC.

“I think she’ll be an asset to the facility, as well as to thecommunity,” he said. “She’s good, she’s a sweet person and she’swell educated.”

MAC’s interim director, Marc Lewis, will remain on board for thenext few weeks to help Miller transition into the facility.