‘We became a family’: Chapel Park Elementary honors principal’s genuine commitment to community and education
WOODWAY, Texas (KWTX) - A first-year elementary school is celebrating its wildly popular first-year principal in a big way, honoring her 25 years of experience in education, and genuine love for teachers, students and parents.
Chapel Park Elementary hosted a surprise assembly to honor Principal Kim Hawkins, who helped open the school this year as the 7th elementary school in the Midway Independent School District.
Chapel Park, which was renovated from Woodgate Intermediate, brought together families and teachers from multiple elementary schools, and the school says its success, in large part, is thanks to its principal.
“It is my first year as a principal, and of course, being at a brand-new school at the beginning was very challenging,” Hawkins said. “But between August and now, it’s life changing. Just the way that we became a family in one year is unbelievable.”
Hawkins is new to being a principal but not education. She’s celebrating her 25th year in schools this year.
Hawkins has been with Midway since 2010, serving as a third-grade teacher and math instructional specialist at Woodway Elementary. She then went on to be named assistant principal at Woodgate Intermediate and Woodway Elementary.
Hawkins says being a teacher has helped her greatly as a principal.
She’s known for popping into classrooms to help teachers, give them a chance for a restroom break, or even bring them Sonic drinks - or a hug.
“I loved being a teacher. I still feel like a teacher. I just really pour into my teachers,” Hawkins said. “I really want to support teachers and make them feel valued and loved every single day because their jobs are hard.”
The principal’s support of teachers doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Ms. Hawkins is amazing. She loves her students, and has not forgotten what it is like to be a teacher,” First Grade teacher Rachel Abarca said. “I have learned so much from her and am so lucky to have been placed on her campus this year.”
Librarian Katie Talbert shares in the sentiment. “Ms. Hawkins always has been so kind and gracious and authentic with me and truly cares about me and my family. She is an example of what true leadership is.”
Counselor Lindsey Ostrom says she feels lucky to learn from Ms. Hawkins everyday. “I appreciate Ms. Hawkins and all of her support more than she will ever know. She has taught me so much about education and I truly look up to her,” Ostrom said.
And it’s not just staff that love their principal. Students say Ms. Hawkins is always positive and always wearing a smile. “I think she was really encouraging when I set my STAAR reading goals,” said student Eden Watson.
Student Conner Brown added, “I love the great events that she always puts on and how she’s a nice principal.”
The students and staff presented Ms. Hawkins with not only a video, but flowers, balloons and gifts, including a collaborative art piece that each student signed and Art Teacher Su-Yen Smith turned into a painting.
Ms. Hawkins says she feels honored to lead Chapel Park and is thankful for the amazing students, staff and supportive parents.
“To have all the special remarks from the kids and the teachers is very special,” Hawkins said.
“I don’t think that I’ll ever forget this year and how special it is.”
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