North Hopkins Independent School District may be losing its long-time superintendent to retirement this summer, but not to worry. The school board has selected another long-time Hopkins County resident, just one who hails from a bit further down the highway.
Donna George won’t officially give up her desk as principal for Miller Grove High School until July 1, but she’s already a familiar face at North Hopkins.
She signed a contract with the district on April 30 – her birthday. She’s already been working with 21-year Superintendent Tommy Long and the central administration staff one day a week to make the transition of leadership smoother.
“I think she’s going to be a good fit for North Hopkins, with her background,” noted Long in a recent interview. “She comes highly recommended. ... I think she’ll do a really good job. She has a lot of experience in education. We were real impressed with her references. She graduated from Cumby and taught there, then Miller Grove. She’s worked at elementary and high school, so she has a lot of experience. At a school like ours, it’s good to know both ends.”
“I’m excited, said George, who has worked at MGISD for the past 12 years, including four years as a fifth grade teacher before being promoted to a principal post. “It’s been kind of overwhelming. I’m not going to have a lot of time to think about my part until after we get our kids here graduated on Friday, but I’m excited,” said George, who has worked at MGISD for the past 12 years, including four years as a fifth grade teacher before being promoted to a principal post. “It’s going to be different, but the same too.”
She said that it was still quite a while after hearing Long would be retiring and seeing the position posted before she put her information in an envelopE and sent it off. She had to think it over very carefully, and had mixed emotions about applying. She said that her relationship with Miller Grove’s staff was such that she felt almost like she was “cheating” on them by tossing her name in the hat of candidates.
The move will be a step up for George in more ways than one. She’ll be moving up to the top of the paid educational administrative ladder to oversee a district “about double what we have here” at Miller Grove.But, she’s looking forward to it “learning something new,” stepping up to the challenge which is sure to “keep me on my toes.”
She had no major long term goals for change or improvement at NHISD.
“I don’t know the district well enough to set goals,” George said. “I plan to go in, see how things work. You just don’t go in and start making changes. If it’s not broke, you don’t need to fix it. I want to be approachable. I don’t want to go in and have them fear coming to me. I am from a small school and understand how things work.”
So far, the staff has been very welcoming and helpful which she finds very encouraging. Of course, the fact that she already knows some of the teachers employed at North Hopkins ISD helps.
“I taught with several of the teachers at Cumby,” said George of her former coworkers at Cumby school, where she not only graduated high school but also taught for at least six years prior to her tenure at Miller Grove ISD. “That’s been kind of comforting.”
While leaving MGISD will be bittersweet, she’s happy to be tackling her new post but sad to leave what for more than a decade as been her “home.” She’s confident she’ll be leaving the principal’s post in good hands — those of Kim Irby.
Irby has taught seventh through 12th English at Miller Grove for nearly 10 years. She’s been teaching advance placement and dual credit English, and will continue to teach the dual credit English class next year along with her duties as high school principal.
“She’s been helping me the last couple of summers, so she’s familiar. I think it will go real smooth. It’ll take a little while to make the transition. We’re hoping to have her ready by the next school year. She’s excited,” George said.
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