Terry M. Nelson
Midland Elementary School
Randolph County School District
Elkins, West Virginia

In each of his 13 years as a principal, the schools that Terry Nelson has led have demonstrated student success and made Adequate Yearly Progress. Both schools Nelson has headed also have been named Title I Distinguished Schools over numerous consecutive years. Nelson has been principal of Midland Elementary School since 2005. The urban site serves 304 pre-kindergarten through grade 5 students. Sixty-four percent come from low-income households, yet the school has boasted the highest test scores in its county and ranked in the top 50 percent of all elementary schools in West Virginia. With Nelson’s leadership, Midland Elementary established new programs for reading instruction and interventions in kindergarten through grade 5 in recent years. These changes have resulted in significant improvements in academic performance. “A good principal leads schools in a way that places student and adult learning at the center,” says Nelson. He stresses the need for his staff’s professional development to focus on high-quality instruction and student work. Beyond his school, Nelson has served his profession through his leadership in the West Virginia Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals. He was elected president of the association for the 2008-2009 school year, and he has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2004. He has a bachelor’s degree from Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia and a master’s from West Virginia University.