Temple of Understanding celebrating our 61st Anniversary in 2021
Heather McTeer Toney was the first African-American, first female and the youngest to serve as Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi from 2004-2012. In 2014, she was appointed by President Barack Obama as Regional Administrator for Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast Region. Known for her energetic and genuine commitment to people, her work has made her a national figure in the area of public service, environmental justice and community engagement. She currently serves as the National Field Director for Moms Clean Air Force, an organization of over 1 million moms and dads committed to fighting climate change and protecting children from the dangers of air pollution. Heather is also a sought-after speaker and writer. The daughter of a civil rights attorney and public school teacher, Heather was born and raised in Greenville, Mississippi. In 2003, she was elected Mayor of the City of Greenville and reelected for a second term in 2007. Under her leadership, the city thrived, emerged from significant debt, and received millions of dollars in grants and federal assistance. At EPA, Mrs. Toney was responsible for protecting public health and the environment in eight southeastern states, as well as six federally recognized tribes; making Region 4 the most populated and diverse of ten regions. In addition, she led efforts to maintain and enhance the quality of work life for Region 4’s approximately 1,000 employees while effectively managing a budget of more than $500 million. Heather has served in several roles throughout her career including one of the National Spokeswomen for She Should Run!, a National Organization that encourages women to run for office. She is an expert on environmental and climate justice with SheSource, a publication of the Women’s Media Center and has worked around the world. She is known for advocating and training diverse officials on leadership and climate in over 15 countries including Kenya, France, Portugal, Nigeria and Senegal. She has appeared on news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Democracy Now! She has written for and been featured in numerous papers including the New York Times and the Washington Post. McTeer Toney was featured in the May 2005 issue of Essence Magazine as one of the “50 Most Remarkable Women in the World. She is also one of the winners of Marie Claire Magazine’s “Women on Top” awards. Heather is often a guest on various Sirux/XM radio shows and was included in the PBS/AOL documentary entitled “MAKERS”, where she appears alongside noted women such as Hilary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. Mrs. Toney earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Spelman College in Atlanta. She earned her law degree from the Tulane University School of Law. Heather is a member of numerous organizations, is an avid athlete that loves triathlons. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and an active member of Oxford University United Methodist Church. She is married to Dexter Toney and they have three children.
Heather McTeer Toney on the climate emergency