Former Clinton Public School District Superintendent to be honored during Governor’s Awards Luncheon at Jackson Hilton
The Mississippi Association of Partners in Education will present the first Education Heroes Award to public education champion Dr. Virgil Belue during the 16th annual Governor’s Awards luncheon on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at the Jackson Hilton.
The luncheon is part of activities planned for the Mississippi Education Partnership Conference, which MAPE will present in partnership with Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools (PREPS), Inc. Conference details and registration instructions are available atwww.mapie.org, including reservations for the Governor’s Awards luncheon.
“Dr. Belue devoted most of his life to improving and promoting public education in Mississippi,” said Maggie Stevenson, MAPE president. “Throughout his career, he also recognized the importance of working with communities to strengthen public education, which is integral to MAPE’s mission. We are honored to present the first Education Heroes Award to Dr. Belue, whose career in public education remains an inspiring example of leadership, courage and commitment.”
Dr. Belue served as the first superintendent of the Clinton Public School District from 1970 to 1992. Under his leadership, the district grew from three schools to seven schools and a vocational center while emerging as one of Mississippi’s top school districts. In 2016, Clinton schools and Dr. Belue made national headlines when the “The Huffington Post” published an article about the innovative approaches he took to create a community school system (“How One Mississippi District Made Integration Work”).
While serving as superintendent, Dr. Belue was an active member of several professional organizations and served a term as president of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents. In 2013, Dr. Belue was honored by the Mississippi Legislature for his 60 years of public service and his retirement from the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi, for which he served as trustee for more than 17 years.
Before his work in Clinton, he served in the U.S. Air Force, taught elementary school in the Tishomingo County School District, taught English and social studies in the Pontotoc County School District, and taught social studies in the Tupelo Public School District, where he also worked as a counselor and director of instruction. In addition, Dr. Belue taught undergraduate and graduate classes for Mississippi State University and Mississippi College.
In 1986 Dr. Belue received the “Outstanding Citizen” award from the Clinton Chamber of Commerce for his leadership of the school system and his service to local and statewide professional organizations.
Dr. Belue currently serves in several organizations, including the Mississippi Retired Personnel Employees’ Association, Retired Education Personnel of Mississippi, Clinton Association of Retired Educators and Clinton Chamber of Commerce. He is an active member of First Baptist Church in Clinton, where he has served as deacon.
A graduate of Holcut High School in Tishomingo County, Dr. Belue earned an associate of arts degree from Northeast Mississippi Junior College and bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in education from Mississippi State University. He also did graduate work in guidance and counseling at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College.
In addition to presenting Dr. Belue’s award on Feb. 27, MAPE will award 18 school-community partnership programs that have produced outstanding results for students in K-12 public schools throughout Mississippi. Learn more about the Governor’s Awards program at www.mapie.org.