A nine node shell element is developed by a new and more efficient mixed formulation. The new shell element formulation is based on the Hellinger-Reissner principle with independent strain and the concept of degenrate solid shell. The new formulation is made more efficient in terms of computing time than the conventional mixed formulation by dividing the assumed strain fields into a lower order part and a higher order part. Numerical results demonstrate that the present nine node element is free of locking even for very then plates and shells and is also kinematically stable. In fact the stiffness matrix associated with the higher order assumed strain plays the role of a stabilization matrix.