Nelson has worked in education for 24 years — all of them in the Oxford school district — and has been principal at Oxford Elementary since 2004. The winner will be announced by the end of February, Nelson said.
“It’s very exciting. Not only for myself,” Nelson said by phone Wednesday, “but also for Oxford Elementary, and for our system.”
The award has been given annually since 1987 by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, according to the association’s website. Along with Nelson, this year’s finalists are Maurine Black from Hoover’s Greystone Elementary School and Hope Zena, principal at Elberta Elementary School.
A team from the association visited Oxford Elementary last week, Nelson said, interviewing teachers and administrators to help determine if she will win this year’s award.
While recognition is nice, Nelson said, she works in education because she loves what she does. She said she’s humbled to have been chosen from among so many good principals across the state.
Oxford schools Superintendent Jeff Goodwin said that Nelson is the consummate professional, and that she takes a vested interest in the education of each child at her school.
“I think I speak for our entire district and our community. We’re all very proud of Mrs. Nelson and this opportunity she’s been given to be a state finalist,” Goodwin said. “But we also recognize that this just means that others have noted what we’ve known all along: what a wonderful school leader, a fantastic principal and an asset to our school district that she is and has always been.”
The award is given to “recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for the students, families and staffs in their learning communities,” according to the association’s website.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.