The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

Ongoing Administration Alterations

Hickman’s administration is in a period of change. Principal Mary Grupe is still fairly new, former assistant principal Denise Herndon retired just before winter break, Dr. McCarthy left over the summer and assistant principal Dr. Matthew Ross will be retiring at the end of the year. 


Grupe is new to students at Hickman, but she is not new to Hickman. Grupe herself was a student here, though it would seem her perspective has changed a lot since then.


Principal Mary Grupe’s 2023-24 yearbook photo.

Grupe expressed the way she thought of administration saying, “I wanted to stay away from them.” 


Grupe’s father was, at the time, an administrator for everyone in her grade, but not her.


“What I thought about administration was…it’s so intertwined with my relationship with my own family,” Grupe said.


Grupe is the hiring manager for Hickman and will be in charge of replacing Herndon and Ross.


Grupe stated, “I am focused on hiring people who are positive, flexible, reflective and coachable.”


Grupe shared her thoughts on the recent administration changes saying, “Miss Hernan leaving and Dr. Ross going on to something new, there are all kinds of mixed feelings we’ve…we’re going to miss both of them.”


Other faculty including Cara Bancroft, FACS teacher and friend of Denise Herndon, expressed her thoughts on the changing faculty.


“It is a danger that…that, [the] new will somehow lose something, but, that does not have to be true,” Bancroft said.


Dean Cole Blackburn’s 2023-24 yearbook photo.

Principal Cole Blackburn, who worked closely with Herndon, expressed a similar belief.


“Everybody’s goals are still the same. I know we’ve lost a couple great, great leaders of the building, but I’m sure that people that are going to move into their positions will also have the same work ethic drive and want Hickman to be a [great] place for all students,” Blackburn said.


On Herndon’s last day, she visited two teachers: Zach Rodeman and Brett Kirkpatrick. 


Rodeman talked about the administration stating, “With all due respect to Ms. Herndon or any other person that’s been in this building, you know, the job is important. The person isn’t necessarily the most important part, but what each individual brings to it.”


Kirkpatrick expressed a similar thought saying, “We’ve had five or six principals, [and] probably what…as many assistant principals, and [teacher’s] work just keeps going.”


Grupe described the role of administration stating, “Our whole goal should be to figure out what you want to do, where your talents lay, and how we can help you get what you need to be able to do that.”


Home School Communicator Dana Carter works at her desk. (Noah Elletson)

Dana Carter, the Home School  Communicator, weighed in stating, “We are not here to judge or to catch them doing something wrong.”


Changes in Hickman are not quick to be implemented.


Grupe stated, “I had an interesting position with two spots to fill, so I decided to take a minute and not rush to do interim.”

Dean Atah Knighten’s 2023-24 yearbook photo.


The three new principals have been announced as Cole Blackburn, Anna Rorvig, and Atah Knighten in a staff email.


Carter stated, “Hickman is huge and it’s just going to take some time for her to make those changes.”


Correction: It was incorrectly reported in an earlier version of the story that Ms. Jennifer Caine was an interim principal and will not be returning next year. Caine is an assistant principal and will be returning for the 24-25 school year.

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