June 15, 2023 by HCDE Communications
Harris County Department of Education has selected Jatata Hutton as the new principal for Academic and Behavior School West.
“Mr. Hutton is the best educator to lead ABS West. His life experiences and stellar credentials made a lasting impression on the selection panel,” said Special Schools Senior Director Charles Ned, Ed.D. “His relentless, student-centered approach allows him to foster positive relationships with some of the most challenging students. Under his leadership, ABS West will continue to lead the way as a premiere school for students with special needs in Harris County. I look forward to working with Mr. Hutton as he transitions into his new role.”
Hutton is a veteran educator with more than 20 years of experience. He earned a master’s degree in educational management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and correctional services from Jackson State University.
“I was drawn to HCDE because I know its impact on the community,” said Hutton. “Throughout my career, I’ve been committed to improving student outcomes. Being principal of ABS West is the next step for me where I can grow other professionals to serve students and families.”
Before joining HCDE, he was the principal of the Cambridge School in the Humble Independent School District, which serves special needs students in grades K-12.
“It’s a passion of mine to serve students with disabilities who have exceptional needs,” said Hutton. “This population of students is dear to me because I’m a foster child. I don’t know my biological parents, and I was adopted at birth. Kids in special ed and who come from my kind of background are not given a chance. They are seen as those kids—kids that won’t be successful. So, I’m a champion for the underdog.”
Hutton began his career as a corrections officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked with adjudicated youth. To make extra money, he also worked as a substitute teacher on the side. The experience led him to find his calling.
“I saw a lot of kids getting into the system, a lot of whom had some unfortunate circumstances,” said Hutton. “When I got into education, I wanted to know why.”
In addition to his most recent role, the Mississippi native has worked as a teacher, basketball coach, and assistant principal in the Houston and Pasadena independent school districts.
Hutton is a father to two daughters, one of whom is a teacher at Katy ISD. He has been married to his college sweetheart for 24 years.
To learn more about HCDE Schools, visit hcde-texas.org/special-schools.