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Principal Profile: Melissa Horner

By Trevor Hawes

Midland ISD


Melissa Horner never planned on becoming a principal, let alone a teacher or even a Midlander, when she first entered college. Yet plans have a way of changing, and for the students and staff at Midland ISD, the changes along Melissa’s journey have been for the better. 


Before moving to the big city of Midland, Melissa hailed from Clovis, New Mexico. A self-described military brat, her father was a Marine and her mother was a nurse. 


“I worked in a law office and in the personnel office at the local hospital when I was in high school, and I thought getting a degree in business administration was the best choice for me,” Melissa said. “I always liked school, but I never considered being a teacher back then.”


That changed when she considered her then-boyfriend (and now husband of 33 years) Jeff Horner’s career plans.


“We were both students at Eastern New Mexico University, and Jeff was going to school to become a teacher,” Melissa said. “That got me thinking about what I really wanted to do, and becoming a teacher was very appealing to me. It was stable work, something I could do and something I would enjoy. So I switched majors to education.”


They headed to the Tall City after Jeff was recruited by MISD to be a math teacher at an ENMU job fair. Melissa later was hired on as a Texas History teacher at Abell Junior High, a role she thought she would be in for life until her principal at the time encouraged her to get her master’s degree in educational leadership because “he had bigger plans for her.”


While balancing raising young children at the time, Melissa pursued her graduate degree and became an assistant principal at Abell. She liked working in campus administration, but her plans changed again when unexpected circumstances led her to further develop her leadership.


“I really had no intention of becoming a principal, but I was encouraged to apply and got the principal job,” Melissa said. 


For the past five years, Melissa has led the staff at Bowie Fine Arts Academy. She sees daily just how much of an impact the fine arts can have on a student.