A Principal’s Principles

A farewell to Dr. Johnson and greetings to Mr. Gragnani

There is a new sheriff in town. Hickman’s very own assistant principal, Mr. Gragnani, will be taking Dr. Johnson’s place as principal this next school year. But how did he get to this point?

When word broke out about Dr. Johnson leaving this year, everyone knew that we all would miss him. Student or staff, everyone loved Dr. Johnson. The participation in all school events, showing the staff that he cares, etc. Everyone is pleased with how much Dr. Johnson has contributed to Hickman. The only problem is that finding someone who can replace him is a little harder than it seems.

For some, saying goodbye to Dr. Johnson was very difficult. Many saw him as a father figure, especially sophomore Adilene Martinez, who formed a close bond with him over the past two years.

“He’s like a father figure for most,” said Martinez. “He treats us like his own children, and he’s like papa bear so if someone is hurting or says something mean, he always has our back.”

Dr. Johnson made Hickman a welcoming place for everyone.  He believed that every student at Hickman was capable of succeeding, and that giving up was never an option.

“Mr. Johnson made sure that every student at Hickman would be successful,” said sophomore Genna Gittemeier. “He employed teachers that love what they do, and made the school a very inviting place.”

Before the decision was made to appoint Mr. Gragnani as head principal, the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) held a meeting on Monday, March 6th, to talk about what the new principal’s qualities and concerns about Hickman should be. The meeting included Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Brian Kurz and Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Dr. Kevin Brown. They were there to talk about the process in choosing a new principal. The team who was looking for the new principal put together a series of interviews in order to find the person that not only was qualified to be a principal, but qualified to be Hickman’s principal.

One of the main ideas that they expressed was that the new principal should be exactly like Dr. Johnson. During the meeting, the members put together a list of every single characteristic that the new principal should have. One of the most important things on the list was that the new principal should be not just the principal for any school, but a principal that would fit in perfectly for Hickman.

“We need a principal that doesn’t just follow Hickman traditions,” one member said. “The principal should be able to be flexible to new ideas and think outside of the box.”

Gittemeier believes that Mr. Gragnani will fit the role of principal just fine as Dr. Johnson did in his four years. Much like Mr. Johnson,  acceptance is very important for Mr. Gragnani.

“Mr. G will be a good principal, because he cares about everyone at the school and wants everyone to feel like they belong,”  Gittemeier said. “I feel that he will lead our school to sustain that tight knit community we have right now.”

Belonging and acceptance are two of the qualities that Mr. Johnson strongly preached at Hickman. The PTSA believed that Mr. Gragnani would continue to pursue Dr. Johnson’s ideology which is why the role of principal was meant for someone like him.

“You can find your niche here at Hickman,” PTSA President Whitney Gibbons said. “We should keep it that way.”

No matter how good of a job Mr. Gragnani does, Hickman students, parents, and staff will always remember him as someone that made a difference to the school.

“He was very interested in how people were doing.” Hickman Junior Meira Whelchel said. “He talks to many students, and he always tries to get to know students, no matter who they are.”

Thank you for all of your hard work Dr. Johnson!