King Hired as New HCSD Superintendent

Mitchell King Named as New HCSD Superintendent

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (April 20, 2021) - Congratulations to Mr. Mitchell King as he prepares to transition to a new leadership role in the Harrison County School District! On Monday night, the Harrison County School Board officially hired King as the district’s next superintendent.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity. It’s a great honor and an awesome responsibility,” said King.

King has dedicated more than 50-years of his life to serving the district as a teacher, coach, bus driver, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent.

“I have done just about every job you can think of in the district, except cook,” King said.

The 73-year-old King grew up in Bay Springs, MS. He graduated from Jones Junior College in 1967. Upon graduation from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1969, King began his historic career with the Harrison County School District.

King Old Photo

“My wife and I were on our way to visit a relative in Gulfport, and as we drove by the former Harrison County School District Central Office in downtown Gulfport, I decided to go inside to inquire about a teaching and coaching position. After talking with the superintendent at the time, he immediately offered me a position. My wife was also hired as a teacher. That’s how we both ended up in Harrison County,” said King.

King Old Photo

King joined the faculty at Orange Grove Middle School as a science and PE teacher. He also coached football and basketball and served as the assistant principal and principal. When the new Bel-Aire Elementary opened in the fall of 1974, King was named the school’s first principal. Five years later, he became the principal of Harrison Central High. In 1986, King moved to the HCSD Administration Building to serve as the district’s assistant superintendent, a position he has held for the last 35 years.

King Old :Photo

“I have been blessed to have worked with some incredible superintendents," said King. "I have seen a lot of changes in education over the years, and I love seeing the growth and success of the Harrison County School District! What I find most gratifying is seeing my former students become successful in whatever careers or goals they decided to pursue.”

During King’s leadership as assistant superintendent, HCSD achieved an A-rating for the first time in its history. HCSD also earned numerous local, state, and national accolades, including receiving four National Blue Ribbon School Awards, ranking among the top 25 districts in Mississippi, and having the third-ranked high school (West Harrison) in the state. Along with academic growth, the district has seen a spike in enrollment. With soon-to-be 24 campuses serving over 14,000 students, HCSD is the largest school district in South Mississippi and the fourth largest in the state. King was also instrumental in helping guide the district through the recovery from Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, the passing of a $55-million bond issue for safety improvements and new school construction, and the challenges of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“HCSD has been able to accomplish so much because we have the most effective team I have ever seen. Our teachers, principals, directors, and staff are knowledgeable, dedicated, and they have been effective in getting the value of a good education across to our students,” King said.

King is proud of the direction HCSD is going and he wants to keep the momentum going. He will apply his five decades of education experience and deep knowledge of the district to continue to build on that success.

“As the superintendent, I will work to tap into the talents of our teachers and staff. Every position in this district is important for our students. We have over 2,000 employees and it is my role to find the strengths of each person so they will always give their very best to help the students that we work with every day,” said King.

King is not the only member of his family with deep roots in the Harrison County School District. King’s late wife, Janet, taught in HCSD for 37 years. The Kings were married for 50-years. They have four children, all of whom are proud graduates of the Harrison County School District.

His two daughters, Robin and Jennifer, are currently teachers in the district. His son, Jason, is a D’Iberville police captain, and their youngest son, John, has special needs. The Kings have 11 grandchildren.

“My parents did not finish high school. They instilled in me the value of learning as the only way to make a living. I was also lucky to have excellent teachers and coaches and I really admired what they did. It dawned on me that education was the path I needed to take. My wife also came from a family that valued education. My children grew up around it, so we feel education is not only a way to improve yourself, but to give back,” King said.

King will become the sixth superintendent to serve in HCSD since the district was created in 1957. He replaces Roy Gill, who is retiring in June after serving five years as superintendent. King will officially take over the helm of HCSD on July 1, 2021.

“We are entrusted with the most important part of people’s lives – their children. The decisions we make also impact our employees’ livelihoods,” said King. “I have so much invested in this district. I know where it’s been, where it’s headed, and I look forward to carrying on its long tradition of excellence.”

WLOX King Interview

Click here to watch a WLOX interview with Mr. King as he talks about his new role and vision for the district: Sitting down with Harrison County School District’s incoming superintendent (wlox.com)