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Superintendent Selects New Leaders of Redesigned Hickman Mills Middle School Program

New Middle School Program PrincipalsSuperintendent Yaw Obeng announced the next phase of the Hickman Mills Middle School Redesign Plan last month. In phase one of the plan, the district opened the Hickman Mills 6th Grade Center to reduce the number of students in the Smith-Hale Middle School building. The result of that collaborative action was an increase in academic performance. In addition, it reduced disciplinary incidents for HMC-1 sixth graders during this school year. Also, the climate, culture, and effectiveness of the 6th Grade Center staff increased.

"As we move into phase two of the Hickman Mills Middle School Redesign plan, we must build on the momentum in the Hickman Mills 6th Grade Center," says Superintendent Obeng. "Therefore, we've decided to keep the Hickman Mills 6th Grade Center leadership, staff, and students together for seventh grade."

District leadership has also decided it is in the best interest of incoming sixth graders to experience the same leadership, culture, and instruction that proved successful in 2022-2023. Therefore, Dr. Chad Ryerson and his team will lead the new Hickman Mills 6th and 7th Grade Center. 

"We are excited about staying with our sixth-grade students next year and continuing with them on their journey into seventh grade," says Ryerson. "The staff is also looking forward to meeting our next class of sixth graders. They will benefit from all the hard work done this year by the sixth-grade staff to ensure our instruction is engaging and challenging, which will provide the academic foundation to ensure their future success."

This change creates an additional opportunity for Hickman Mills C-1 Schools to develop an innovative experience for eighth-graders before they head into high school. That opportunity is the new Hickman Mills 8th Grade Center. The Hickman Mills 8th Grade Center will allow leadership and staff to intensely focus on student achievement and preparing eighth-grade students for success when they enter Ruskin High School. 

"I am proud to announce that Dr. Anne Hawks will lead the Hickman Mills 8th Grade Center," says Obeng. "She brings over 20 years of educational experience in Kansas and Missouri. In addition, since 2020, she has been a middle school principal at Lawrence Public Schools. Her experience leading middle school professional learning communities, developing teacher autonomy, and facilitating mentoring programs for new teachers will prove valuable in developing staff who can adequately increase students' performance."

"I am so excited to serve the students, staff, and families in the Hickman Mills community. I look forward to building a collective vision for our new school and beginning this journey together," says Dr. Hawks. 

Finally, Phase 2 of the Hickman Mills Middle School plan will include a new position specifically designed to support middle school students' social and emotional needs while filling other areas of need in the school district. Derek Jordan will lead those efforts for HMC-1.