By Taylor McKay Hathorn
B. Jason Taylor began his journey to the Head of School position at Clinton Christian Academy (CCA) in another city called Clinton, just across the state line – Clinton, Louisiana. A standout baseball player, Taylor played collegiate baseball for Delgado Community College and Southeastern Louisiana University. Upon graduation, Taylor returned to the private school system that had seen him through his formative years, this time as a coach.
“I’ve been all over,” Taylor said of his long career in the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools (MAIS). “You know, us coaches travel a lot and move.”
Although he initially began his career as a coach at Silliman Institute, Taylor eventually worked his way into administration, landing his last position at Tri-County Academy, which brought him, his wife Leigh, and their six children to Flora, Mississippi.
When the call from CCA came, Taylor joked that it was “bad timing.” The week of his interview, Tri-County Academy was playing Clinton Christian Academy for the state title in football.
“I knew I wanted to be a head of school, I just didn’t know when,” Taylor reflected on the transition that brought him from one part of Hinds County to another. “I had a two-hour meeting with the Board, and they offered me [the job] later that night.”
Before he could accept the job, though, Taylor said that he had to make a lot of phone calls, some of them heavenward.
“I had to do a lot of praying,” Taylor remarked. “My kids are juniors at Tri-County, and the thought of not coaching my son wasn’t easy, but the Lord provided. I had to look at the future and not just the ‘right now.’”
Ultimately, Taylor made the switch, a decision that he says confidently was “no doubt the right choice.” The former coach took the helm at the Clinton private school at the beginning of the spring term, which he says has made for a busy transition.
“I’ve pinned my ears back and had Dr. Broome follow me around. I’ve been polishing procedures, but I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel – just put air back in the tires,” Taylor said.
Taking over mid-year also meant that he took over in the midst of basketball season, a primary sport for the Warriors.
“I get here at 6:30 in the morning, and I have to attend all events as head of school,” Taylor said. “On Monday, we had a home game, and I didn’t get home until ten. On Tuesday, we had a game in Simpson County, and I didn’t get home until after eleven, so, on Wednesday, I had to reintroduce myself to my wife,” he quipped.
Despite the early hustle and bustle, Taylor says that the move has been a good fit for him, especially considering the school’s Christian-minded mission.
“I’m the only non-reverend male in my immediate family,” Taylor reflected. “So [faith] has always been number one in my family.”
Taylor says that his personal commitment to Christ has transferred into his time as an educator, too.
“Everything I do, whether it’s coaching or teaching, is about spreading the Word. It’s about being there for the students and answering their questions.” Some of those questions at CCA are answered in the school’s weekly chapel services, where Taylor is excited to bring his dad and his own pastor in as guest speakers in the coming months.
“Everything we do starts with a prayer,” Taylor concluded. “All of our events – whether it’s athletics or choir or any other event – all start with prayer.”