"I grew up in Odessa went to school here, graduated from High School here, a long time ago lived here for many years practiced law here for until 1999, I was on the school board here from 1984 to 1995."
Former Odessan Jim Nelson says it all started in the ECISD school board room, his love for education which ultimately led him to where he is now.
"I became Superintendent in Richardson which I left last year to move to San Diego as head of AVID," Nelson said.
Long before becoming head of the AVID Center, Nelson held some pretty prestigious roles in education.
"I was appointed Commissioner of Education by Governor Bush in 1999 and did that for three years."
It was after those three years in 2003, Nelson took on an education mission to the Middle East to get the Ministry of Education back on its feet right after the fall of Baghdad.
"It was very interesting, I found that I was probably less equipped to do that well than anything else I've done well, I'm glad I did it, I learned a lot about myself, I learned how difficult it is to work in foreign countries when you don't speak the language, when there are security issues, and all those kinds of thing so it was very rewarding."
Now, he finds working for the AVID center and implement the AVID program in schools across the country, rewarding.
"I just feel that for America to continue to progress, and be the kind of country where we all want to live where are children and grandchildren can be successful, we have to do a better job of educating all children."