July 9, 2013

Alum named middle school Principal of the Year

Joe Nelson Jr., a graduate of Hinds Agricultural High School and Hinds’ Utica Campus, was recently named the Mississippi Middle Level Principal of the Year by the Mississippi Association of…
BY: Cathy Hayden

Joe Nelson Jr., a graduate of Hinds Agricultural High School and Hinds’ Utica Campus, was recently named the Mississippi Middle Level Principal of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Secondary School Principals. The MetLife/ National Association of Secondary School Principals’ (NASSP) National Principals of the Year Program designated Nelson as a State winner, thereby qualifying him as a contender for the National Principal of the Year honor.

“Any honor that I receive is a reflection of and a tribute to the people with whom I work; therefore, I am humble and pay homage to my staff. Here, at Pass Christian Middle School, we work as a team. That is how we get the job done of providing our students with a first-class education,” Nelson said.

The Pass Christian Middle School principal credits the education he received from Hinds AHS and the Utica Campus for paving the way for his accomplishments. “The professionalism, genuine concern, and education that I received while attending Hinds AHS and the Utica Campus as well as growing up on that Campus were awesome for me. Even when I was not in class, I was around excellent role models like President. J. Louis Stokes and his wife, Mrs. Faye Stokes, and Mr. Melvin and Mrs. Magnolia Hampton,” Nelson said. “All of these people treated me like family.”

Nelson remembers his college days on the Utica Campus as the springboard to the educational leader he is today. “Both my parents were educators, and my father was the basketball coach for many years at Utica Junior College and the Utica Campus of Hinds Community College. They instilled certain qualities into my brother and me: teamwork, perseverance, commitment, honesty, and hard work. That is the foundation on which I stand,” Nelson said.

“Mrs. Hampton was my high school English teacher. She transferred over to the college where she and Mrs. Bessie Brown taught me college English. I thought they were tough on me, but it paid off as I pursued my advanced degrees,” Nelson said.

From a pool of outstanding administrators, six national finalists will be named and then two national winners will be chosen by a distinguished panel of judges. The national finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant and the national winners will receive a $5,000 grant. Nelson, along with the other state winners, will be honored at a three-day event in Washington, D.C, and Sept.18 – 21, 2013.

“NASSP is honored to recognize the outstanding work of Joe Nelson,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, NASSP executive director. “Great schools don’t happen without strong, visionary leadership. The stories of such leadership that we capture in the MetLife/NASSP Principal of the Year program continue to impress us and inspire us.”

During the four-day networking event, Sept. 18 – 21, 2013, some of the nation’s “best principals” will visit Capitol Hill to meet with legislators. The event will culminate with a black-tie gala to recognize the achievements of each of the state honorees, the national finalists, and the national winners.


Registration is now in progress until July 19 for new students and transfer students, grades 9-12, who plan to attend Hinds Agricultural High School for the 2013-2014 school year.

The designated time for registration is 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday or 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Tuesday.  Students who have pre-registered should bring their birth certificate, social security card, two proof of residency and final grade report card from the last school they attended in order to complete registration. Transfer students should bring their withdrawal papers, a copy of their transcript, birth certificate and social security card and two proof of residency.

For more information, please call the Principal’s Office at 601.885.7047 or the Counselor’s Office at 601.885.7046.

Hinds Agricultural High School is a school of choice for any student in Hinds County – including the Clinton, Jackson and Hinds County school districts – and students in Copiah and Claiborne counties who have permission from the local school board. It’s located on the Utica Campus of Hinds Community College.