Hickman always knew she wanted to teach

Britney Hickman admits that she has been “training” to be a teacher since she was a child.

“My mother has pictures of me when I was younger teaching my teddy bears and my little brother at home,” she said. “My elementary school teachers would give me old textbooks to take home and practice ‘teaching’ with.”

Hickman said her fourth-grade teacher in Hope greatly influenced her teaching aspirations.

“Roy Turner made learning so much fun,” she said. “While being a student in his class, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and work in the education field. I wanted to educate students while making it fun.”

Hickman is currently serving as an assistant principal in the Pulaski County Special School District. After earning her B.S.E. in Early Childhood Education P-4 at Henderson State University in 2010, she taught second grade at Central Primary School in Arkadelphia.

Hickman received her M.S.E. in Advanced Instructional Studies with an emphasis on ESL from Henderson in 2012. She was named the Arkadelphia School District’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year.

In 2013, Hickman completed the Educational Leadership Program of Study for Building Level Leader. She joined the Pulaski County Special School District in 2014 and is currently pursuing her District Level Leader degree at Henderson.

Hickman credits Henderson’s Summer Institute for her decision to attend the university.

“While sitting in a high school class during my junior year, I heard an announcement over the intercom about a program called Henderson State University Summer Institute. I went to the counselor’s office and submitted an application,” she said. “I attended the program over the summer and it really opened my eyes to what college life was really like.

“They brought in different professors to talk to us about college expectations and how to make the transition from high school to college a successful one. When it was over, I then knew that Henderson was the place for me. It felt like family.”

Hickman said she was so impressed with the program, she has served as a Summer Institute counselor for about nine years.

Hickman said elementary education is the “foundation where all learning begins.”

“What I enjoyed most about teaching elementary education were the students’ excitement and anticipation to learn,” she said. “Teaching and watching students learn to read was so rewarding. Helping students develop those crucial foundation skills was my priority.

“I enjoyed elementary education because I had the same group of students all day. I taught all seven subjects. This gave me the opportunity to build a rapport with each student and their families. I considered my students a part of my family.”

When asked how she thought others would describe her, Hickman provided a list of traits, including: “Patient, calm, honest, loving, dependable, outgoing, determined, family-oriented, and a passion for working with children.”

If she hadn’t majored in elementary education, Hickman said she would probably be a basketball or football coach.

“I love sports, especially football,” she said. “I actually took a couple of physical education courses throughout my undergraduate career. And I was a volunteer Upward basketball coach for eight years.”

Hickman has high praise for Henderson State.

“Since I’ve graduated from Henderson, it seems like my career and educational background has taken me to places that I dreamed and hoped for,” she said. “Never would I have imagined being a Teacher of the Year for a district or becoming an assistant principal at the age of 26.

“Henderson has prepared me to not only achieve my goals, but to also push myself and go beyond my limits.”