Board of Directors

Velma J. Wilson Director

A native of Marks, Mississippi, Velma J. Wilson is the first Quitman County Economic & Tourism Director, where she will establish a Visitors' Welcome Center and bring more business and industry to the area, a goal of the organization to address the county's high unemployment rate.

In 2016, Velma was employed as the first African American and the first female County Administrator for the Quitman County Board of Supervisors. Some of her responsibilities included oversight and management of the county's budget, marketing strategy, and operational and property functions, but a large portion of the job entailed seeking resources for economic stimulus through networking and grant writing to regional, state, and federal entities.

Within the six-year tenure with the Board, over $3 million in local, regional, state, and federal funds were obtained for projects that benefited Quitman County. The projects included: the stabilization of the Marks' Rosenwald School, installation of a Civil Rights "Mule Train" Freedom Marker, erection of a welcome sign in Marks' city park, and establishment of eleven markers to identify the "Mule Train Trail," which portrays the history of the 1968 Marks Mule Train & MLK's Poor People's Campaign to Washington, D.C. She also founded the annual Quitman County Mules & Blues Festival and worked to build the Amtrak stop that opened May 4, 2018. Prior to her position as County Administrator, Wilson served as a consultant for the Board of Supervisors.

A graduate of St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin, she was honored in 2004 with the Alumni Community Service Award. Her alma mater recognized and honored her through the American Legion, by putting a copy of her book, What's in the Water? on display in the college's library. In 2019, Wilson was appointed to serve as an officer on the Delta Council as a presidential appointment. She has served as a board member for numerous organizations: Jackson, Tennessee Area Chamber of Commerce, March of Dimes, The Boys and Girls Club, Jackson Arts Council, The Jackson Symphony, United Way, Jackson, Tennessee Chapter of the Links, Inc. (Past President), and NAIA (Vice Chair).

With over 30 years of experience in education, social services, corporate business, public relations, marketing, she has received civic and leadership awards and recognition for work in areas of: Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Black Adoption Awareness, Services to Youth, NAACP, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Stylized acrylic painting of The Village in downtown Marks, MS
The Village, Downtown Marks. Artist: Jennifer Drinkwater

Dejuan Watts, Sr. President

Photo of Dejuan WattsWatts has served as Male Involvement Coordinator for Tougaloo College/Delta Health Partners Healthy Start Initiative for the past 10 years. In his community he exemplifies leadership strengths in local and surrounding Mississippi Delta counties by mentoring, counseling, and being a father figure for many young males.

Elder DeJuan Watts, Sr. presently serves as  pastor of the Rose Chapel Church of God in Christ in Crenshaw, Ms.  Pastor Watts excepted his call into the ministry in July 2003 and was ordained as an Elder in July 2006. Pastor Watts faithfully served under the leadership of his late father and pastor Elder Willie Watts Jr. as Associate Pastor of the Hope Well C.O.G.I.C. in Byhalia, MS.

Pastor Watts has continued to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ for over 20 years and is focused on ministry, church growth, and community outreach. Commissioned by God to minister to the church and community, Pastor Watts has a special heart for young people and enjoys encouraging them to higher standards and expectations.

Robert Mehrle Vice President

Photo of Vice President Robert MehrleMehrle currently serves as one of the 20 directors for the Community Foundation, which is a 501.c.3. charitable corporation representing eleven counties of Northwest Mississippi. Mehrle offers his diverse experience, expertise, and perspective for policies and financial support.

Mehrle is owner of Robert K. Mehrle Farms, LLC. His career is centered around agricultural management and ownership. He served as president for the American Society of Agricultural Consultants. He was also the Founding Member and President for the Quitman County Board of Adjustment.

He has undergraduate degree in International Studies from Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, and a Master of Arts in International and African Studies. Mehrle has a Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics from Mississippi State University.

Tametrice Strickland Secretary

Photo of Tametrice Strickland, SecretaryStrickland is the assistant principal for Madison Shannon Palmer High School/Quitman County School District. She has been in this position since 2016.  Her duties entail assisting instructors with curriculum, assessments, professional development, and data analyis, and she serves on the district disciplinary committee. Her professional career has been dedicated to education within this community. Her previous positions with the Quitman County School District included; Alternate School Director, Principal and Assistant Principal of Quitman County Middle School, and teacher/lead teacher for the Middle School, where Strickland served as liaison between principal and teachers, testing coordinator, and data analyst.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Mississippi. Strickland also received her Master of Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Mississippi. Further, she obtained a certification form Arkansas State University for Specialist in Education.

Dr. Nakisha McCray-Watts Treasurer

Photo of Dr. Nakisha McCray-Watts, TreasurerDr. McCray-Watts is a results-oriented academic advocate with extensive leadership experience and a proven history of providing integrated solutions that increase and improve student recruitment and retention outcomes. She is Director of Admissions/Registrar for Coahoma Community College, Clarksdale, MS. Dr. McCray-Watts' prior positions include serving as Project Manager for Teen Pregnancy Prevention with Delta Health Alliance, Project Director of Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition, and Adult Education Instructor-Workforce Development at Coahoma Community College.  McCray-Watts has produced and published several publications dealing with students' retention and education empowerment of students with focus on African-American male.

Dr. Mccray-Watts has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Accounting from Rust College. She received her Master's Degree in Business Administration from Mississippi Valley State and her Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University.

Milton R. Williams Jr. Member at Large

Williams is committed to helping youth within the community and having an impact on economic development for Quitman County. He is a CEO/director and technical advisor to a number of organizations, including Cisbay Mississippi, LLC Agricultural; director of the nonprofit, H.O.M.E. (Help Our Men Excel), and security/technical advisor for Mims Motors Corporation. He holds certifications and training in Homeland Security, law enforcement, investigations, martial arts, licensed UAS air drone pilot, and American Sign Language. Williams currently works as a State Trooper with the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.  He has held this position since 2011.

He attended University of Mississippi, Delta State University, and has an associate degree from Mississippi Delta Community College in Criminal Justice.