Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature Mr. William Hawkins, who has been serving as principal at Spring Valley Center for Exploration for the past two years. Prior to this he was at Woods Lake for the past fifteen years, five as principal and the first ten as a teacher. What you may not know is that he comes from a long line of educators. He grew up in Flint where his mother was a principal. His grandmother was a teacher as was his great grandmother. His own mother encouraged him not to go into education! It was a hard job then and it is a hard job now. In this instance, our 12,000+ kids are fortunate that a young man didn’t listen to his mother! (Mr. Hawkins said his mom is now happy with his decision to enter education.)
We popped this quiz on Mr. Hawkins back in November, during the first snow day of the season.
Alright, Principal Hawkins: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.
What is something interesting you’ve recently learned? I’m always looking for facts. My wife tells me I should be on Jeopardy. “How did you know that answer?” she’s always asking as we are watching the show. I do enjoy learning interesting facts and trivia. One day I might apply to appear on Jeopardy. I’d probably be in second place by the end of the show.
Tell us an interesting fact or piece of trivia.
There is a new tree planted at the capital of Washington D.C. in honor of Emmitt Till.
What kind of tree is it? Do you know?
What are you currently reading?
Currently I’m reading Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching Evaluation Instrument. It’s that time of year when I’m in classrooms doing evaluations. I want to make the process meaningful for teachers and myself. The Charlotte Danielson model helps with that. It is a collaborative structure where there’s both a pre-observation and post observation conference. The process is reflective for the teachers. It’s not just me going through classrooms with a checklist. It is a collaborative process; teachers have input. The tool is designed to create an environment where you reflect on your process, improve in areas of weakness and build upon your strengths.
Speaking of strengths, what is one of yours?
For me? Dealing with parents. Communicating with parents and students and being the link that connects parents to the school.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Originally, I was going to be a professional football player and play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were my favorite team growing up. Lynn Swann, “Mean” Joe Greene….all the greats.
I’ll tell you a little bit of trivia about the Steelers. Did you know that they were the first NFL team to have a cheerleading squad?
I didn’t know that. You need to be on Jeopardy.
I wouldn’t do well with geography questions. And I only know that bit of trivia because I lived in Pittsburgh for a time and one of my best friend’s mom—Norreen Modery—was a Pittsburgh Steelerette. So, back to you. What is your favorite word right now?
Tell us something more about you.
My experience in education—elementary all the way through high school –was a positive one. It is my goal to help the children that I serve have a positive learning experience as well. That is why I am in education. And being in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, the home of the Promise, there is an extra added incentive to make education an enjoyable experience for all students.
Behind every successful student is a caring adult. Who has been your caring adult?
First and foremost my family: my mother, father, and grandparents. And then there was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Hall. I remember we read the The Hobbit.
She read it to you?
No, we read it. “He can’t read that,” said a bookfair representative who was visiting the school. I read some of it to him and he was amazed. “I guess we have to get him the book, Lord of the Rings, now.” And he did.
That’s wonderful having caring adults encouraging you to really push yourself when it came to reading.
Yes. And then there was Mr. Alexander, my sixth grade teacher and the first male teacher I had. He motivated me, got the best out of me. High school was Mrs. Foster. She was my Spanish teacher and also the cadet teaching program teacher. This program gave me the opportunity to do a pre-teaching internship while I was still in high school. Mrs. Foster encouraged me to go further into education and encouraged me to minor in Spanish and it is because of her I am also certified to teach Spanish.
Thank you, Mr. Hawkins!
Mr. Hawkins is one of the people featured in the video that was created to celebrate the work of his CIS site coordinator, Martha Serio on her Unsung Hero Award. You can watch it here.