Shirley D. Simmons Middle School
Mark of Excellence
About the Teacher
Joel Hill currently is serving in his 22nd year of music education and is serving in his 8th year as Director of Choirs and General Music Teacher at Velma Jackson High School and Shirley D. Simmons Middle School in the Madison County School District. Prior to coming to MCSD, Mr. Hill served from 2007-2016 as Director of Choral & Vocal Music at Holmes Community College in Goodman, MS, where he directed the Holmes Concert Chorale and The Coachmen, a contemporary a cappella ensemble, and taught private voice, music theory aural skills training, and other music education courses. In addition, he served as Academic Advisor for Music/Music Education Majors and as Associate Department Chair of Fine Arts. In 2016, The Coachmen were both the first-ever community college contemporary a cappella group, as well as the first group from the state of Mississippi selected to perform on the Main Stage at the National A Cappella Convention in Memphis, TN, sponsored by the (AEA) A Cappella Education Association.
Prior to Holmes CC, Mr. Hill taught choral music, showchoir, and musical theatre for five years at Forest HS and Kosciusko HS, while also performing in community theatre and teaching private voice. A native of Grenada, MS, he served as Minister of Music at Central Baptist Church of Grenada from 1996-2018, and as Interim Minister of Music at Friendship Baptist Church of Grenada from 1995-1996.
In 2004, Mr. Hill received special recognition as the recipient of the Colleen Kirk Memorial Award presented by the Southern Division of the American Choral Directors Association. This award is given annually to "an outstanding young choral music educator who is chosen to represent the Southern Division’s 11-state region."
In 2021, Mr. Hill was selected as the 2020-2021 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Music Educator of the Year, and in 2022, he was named a National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Music Educator of the Year. In Spring of 2023, Mr. Hill was named a Grammy Music Educator Award National Quarterfinalist by the Grammy Museum & Recording Academy.
Mr. Hill holds the Associate of Arts degree in Vocal Music Education from Holmes Community College in Goodman, MS; the Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Music Education from the University of Mississippi in Oxford; and the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Mississippi College in Clinton.
Active in professional organizations, Mr. Hill continues to serve in numerous statewide leadership roles. He currently serves on the statewide boards for (MSACDA) the Mississippi Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and (MMEA) Mississippi Music Educators Association. Mr. Hill currently serves as the immediate Past-President of the MMEA/MHSAA High School Choral Division and assists with the MHSAA High School Choral State Performance Assessments. He served as MHSAA District VI High School Choral Chair in 2017-2019. He also currently serves as State Conference Registrar & Treasurer for the annual joint MMEA-ACDA State Conference. Mr. Hill served as President (2012-2014) and Secretary (2014-2016) of the Choral Directors Association for the (MACJC) MS Association of Community & Junior Colleges. He also is an active member of (AEA) A Cappella Education Association, (NAfME) National Association for Music Education, (NFHS) National Federation of High Schools, and (MPE) MS Professional Educators. He is a past member of (NATS), the National Association for Teachers of Singing. He is a frequent choral adjudicator and has judged preliminary rounds for American Idol and The Colgate Country Showdown.
Mr. Hill currently resides in Madison, with his wife and their three children, and recently began serving as Minister of Music at Victory Baptist Church in Madison, MS, in August 2023.