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2017-07-12 / People

Hayden Middle School names assistant principal

by Cheryl Helton

"I never thought I'd be a teacher. My goal was to be a broadcast meteorologist,” said Mary Grace Hicks, the newly appointed assistant principal at Hayden Middle School.

While her parents, Chris and Pam Green, instilled in Hicks a huge love of learning; it was not just vocational learning. They also encouraged her to engage in hands-on learning experiences.

After graduating high school from Oneonta, she began her college career at Jacksonville State University; however, just before graduating from college, Hicks realized she was unhappy with her chosen major.

After discussing her discontent with her parents, she decided to take one education class. "That changed me overnight. I changed my major to education and have not stopped going to school since then. School is my hobby."

Hicks received her master’s degree and her administrative certification from The University of Alabama.

With a few years to go, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. by age 40.

Hicks has 10 years’ experience in education. She spent nine years at Hayden Middle School and last year was the literacy instructional coach for Blount County schools, a position that supports literacy instruction for grades 4 to 10 in English and social studies as part of the Literacy Design Collaboration (LDC).

This program is one Hicks believes in whole-heartedly. "LDC provides a way to learn written and verbal communication skills. It teaches great skills on taking in information and learning how to do something with it. It is one way to prepare students for the real world. It has been a very powerful tool for teachers," she said.

Hicks has a desire to reach both the students and the community. She is a student advocate and believes that if she is not able to have a solid relationship with the students and members of the community that it will hinder her ability to be an effective educator.

Three years ago, Hicks worked with her students and was instrumental in getting the cell phone policy changed for Blount County schools. She said, “Kids were bringing them to school anyway, so let’s use them as a learning tool.”

Some other interesting facts people may not know about Hicks:

1. She and her husband met on eHarmony and they have been married for six years.

2. Her school nickname is “Harry Potter Hicks” due to being intrigued by Harry Potter.

3. She loves Converse tennis shoes and has a varied collection. She has owned a pair of pink high-tops her entire life. Since learning of her new position, some of her former students have asked her, “Can you still wear high tops when you are an assistant principal?” The answer is yes.

4. She is a member of the Redeemer Praise team.

5. She was named Hayden Middle School Teacher of the Year twice.

6. Two years ago, she was one of five finalists for the JSU Teacher Hall of Fame, middle school division.

7. While Hicks has no children of her own, she said, “I have 550 kids at Hayden Middle School.”

Hicks is excited about what new opportunities and challenges will cross her path as she takes the reigns as assistant principal at Hayden Middle School for upcoming school year.

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