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D.J. Nix thankful, humble upon retirement from JIS

By Zachary Seifter/ Staff Writer

 

When you walk into the principal’s office at Jemison Intermediate School, on the top of right wall you will see the phrase “Everybody is Somebody” painted.

That phrase holds significant meaning to JIS Principal D.J. Nix. They have reminded him daily of his responsibility to every student that comes through the doors of his school. They have helped shape a 25-year career in education.

It is a career that Nix has chosen to step away from as of the end of this school year. After being a part of the education system in Chilton County for so long, he has made the decision that it is time for something different.

His decision was final in October 2020, when Nix approached County Superintendent Jason Griffin, informing him that this year would be his last.

It was not an easy decision to make. Through his time at JIS, Nix has been extremely fond of the school and all the people in it. The staff and the students made the job special for him, making it even harder to say goodbye.

“I look at the faculty and staff here, I hired over half of them,” Nix said. “It’s just hard to walk away.”

Nix was the first ever principal at JIS, an honor that he is proud of, and thankful for. He will be the first to tell you that he has been fortunate to have such great opportunities in his career, all of which have been thanks to great timing.

“I just got lucky,” Nix said. “I remember my first assistant principal job, just timing. [My] first principal job, timing. You know, I’ve taught at Wallace and Jeff State for years, that was timing. So … I live my life on timing and putting others first, and I think good things will fall back on you.”

That strong belief in timing is a big reason why Nix is choosing to retire after this school year. He was ready to do it at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, but when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, he decided it was not the right time.

“I wasn’t going to leave because of COVID,” Nix said. “COVID, kind of, extended me, but I was ready last year. I had several opportunities [to retire] last year, but I decided to stay here and see it through.”

In his final year, Nix has made a strong dedication to helping the school not only get through the pandemic, but grow because of it. He met with his faculty and staff at the beginning of the school year in August 2020, and it was there that he challenged them to use the unfortunate circumstances as a chance for personal growth, and they have taken to the challenge.

It is the last accomplishment in a career full of them for Nix. At the end of his journey, all he feels is appreciation and thanks for the people who helped him make it.

“This whole school system has been a blessing in my life,” Nix said. The old [school] board, the new [school] board, the future [school] boards, old superintendents, the new superintendent and future superintendents, have just been great to work with, and for, here in my career.”

When left for final words to say on his career, Nix went back to the motto that is painted on his office wall.

“Everybody is Somebody.”