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Pass Christian Principal Named National Principal of the Year Finalist
Pass Christian Middle School
Joe Nelson with Pass Christian students
Joe Nelson with Pass Christian students
Posted On: Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Reston, VA—July 2, 2013—Joe Nelson, principal of Pass Christian Middle School in Pass Christian, MS, has been named a finalist in the 2014 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for his significant contributions to student achievement.

Under Nelson's leadership, Pass Christian Middle School provides students with a rigorous, data-driven environment where the high expectation of the staff is evidenced by each member's care and concern for all students. Each child is a product of the school's mission of "Education for Today; Excellence for Tomorrow." Although two-thirds of the student population lives in poverty, state assessment scores have remained consistently high during Nelson's tenure. This success is attributed in large part to Nelson's obsessive focus on performance data, which leads him to intervene at the first indicator of difficulty. As a result, Pass Christina was 1 of only 15 middle level schools to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2012.

"Mr. Nelson has created a climate at Pass Christian Middle School that inspires teachers to create varied learning opportunities for students with different learning needs, said Beth John, superintendent of the Pass Christian Unified School District. "In addition, he genuinely cares about the future of his students."

The search for the national principal of the year began in early 2013 as each state principals' association selected its state principal of the year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. The national middle level and high school winners will be named in September and recognized in Washington, DC, during the Principals Institute for State Principals of the Year, September 18-21, 2013.

Nelson and the other five finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant, and the two national award winners—one high school and one middle level—will receive additional grants of $3,500. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school (e.g., a special school project and/or professional development opportunities). Nelson is the first finalist ever named from Mississippi since the inception of the principal of the year program in 1994.

MetLife and NASSP are strongly committed to supporting the visions of exemplary school leaders. For more information about the MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program, please visit www.nassp.org/POY.

NASSP is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development as well, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit www.nassp.org.

About MetLife Resources
MetLife Resources is a division of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company ("MLIC"), a MetLife company. MLIC is a subsidiary of MetLife Inc., a leading global provider of insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife Inc. holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. For more information, please visit www.metlife.com/mlr