MADISON – An educator is never finished learning.

“I continue to learn from others every day and appreciate each person who leaves a lasting impression on my life,” Melissa Sims said. She has served as Principal of Madison Elementary School for three years.

“I joined the MES family in June 2014 and have enjoyed building relationships and working with students, teachers, parents and community members,” Mims said.

Previously, she worked as assistant principal at Chelsea Park Elementary School in Shelby County for six years; as a third-grade teacher three years; and second-grade at Loachapoka Elementary School, Lee County and Chestatee Elementary School, Forsyth County, Georgia.

“My education philosophy is to teach in a way that excites students by creating an engaging, safe environment where collaboration is encouraged and mistakes are understood,” Mims said. Educators should develop relationships by understanding each student personally and academically “to challenge and motivate students in different ways.”

“All students can learn — they just learn in different ways and different paces. I have high expectations for all and expect all to do their very best, knowing that the “best may not look the same for everyone,” Mims said.

Mims defined three major needs for Madison City Schools:

* Maintain buildings to accommodate growth this wonderful city experiences daily.

* Maintain faculty/staff with educational experiences that students deserve daily.

* Increase funding to accomplish these needs and continue the high level of instruction and opportunities Madison students are so fortunate to have.

One educator who left a lasting impression on Mims’ life was her former principal, Dr. Jeanette Campisi-Snider. “As her assistant principal, she guided me professionally and personally for six years. She provided opportunities to succeed and fail while encouraging me along the way,” Mims said.

“Dr. Campisi-Snider mentored me and challenged my thinking only to help me improve my craft. I’m grateful for her love and care to further develop my teaching and administrative skills. I’ve taken what she instilled in me and continue to build upon it,” Mims said.

Mims lived in Harvest until enrolling at Auburn University. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Auburn and continued living and working “on the plains to obtain a master’s degree. She earned master’s certification in educational leadership at University of Montevallo.

Her husband Wesley ‘Wes’ Mims is a project manager in the construction industry in the Huntsville and Birmingham areas. In her first year as principal, the Mimses built a new home in Madison “to continue to engrain ourselves in all that Madison and surrounding areas offer.”

“We welcomed our daughter, Lillian, into our family in October 2016. She is now eight months old and has been a tremendous blessing to both of us,” Melissa said. “Lillian is growing up quickly and is such fun to be around. Wes and I certainly stay busy.”

“Lillian has my undivided attention during my spare time. We enjoy playing and reading,” Melissa said. “I also cherish time spent with family and friends.” Melissa reads educational literature as a leisure activity. “Education is truly my passion. I feel so blessed to work in a field I love.”

Melissa runs the Memphis marathon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and supports March of Dimes campaigns at Madison elementary. The family attends Harvest Baptist Church.

One little known fact about Mims is that she worked as a U.S. Senate Page for Senator Howell Heflin for six weeks. “It was a wonderful learning and personal experience I’ll always cherish,” she said.