7 Questions with Kory Hicks
Name: Kory Hicks
Current title: Junior High Principal
Current organisation: Grapevine Faith Christian School
Dr. Kory Hicks has worked in Christian education for 18 years. He has taught in the junior high and high school levels, both mathematics and Bible, and is currently in his 11th year as the junior high principal at Grapevine Faith Christian School. With a summer counselor background all through college, he loves using recreation to connect with students, such as grade-level retreats. He earned his Ed.D. in School Leadership from Dallas Baptist University. Kory enjoys playing disc golf, mountain biking, BJJ, gardening, and SCUBA diving. He and his wife, Ashley, have two elementary aged children, Addy and Kash.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
As with any profession, there are always challenges, which can also be looked at as opportunities. From a big picture perspective, I do believe we as leaders in Christian education need to constantly think about how we can do what we do better. The traditional model of education still works for now, but for how much longer will it truly be sustainable?
With more of a day-to-day, we learn quickly within leadership we can rarely please everyone. Whether it is with Covid policy, dress code, or athletics, someone will feel differently about our decisions, which is okay. It is important to work as hard as you can with hearing from God, listening to the wisdom of others, and making decisions that are healthiest for the school.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
With the way I structure my weekdays, I arrive at school by 7:00 to get my first cup of coffee and eat my protein bar. This is a great time to catch up on emails and start planning for the day. I try to leave the school between 4:30 and 5:30, depending on what is going on. With the way Covid has affected everyone, on a day that I'm able to leave by 4:30, I try to get a home workout on our elliptical. For additional exercise, I also take 2-3 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes at home each week over Zoom, which I remain undefeated so far. :) Taking my kids to an activity, such as dance or soccer, is also part of the weekly equation.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I feel an important lesson I've learned over the years and continue to have opportunities to implement is saying "I'm sorry" when I mess up. Notice I said "when" and not "if."
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I really appreciate all the books by Josh McDowell! I've seen him speak in person several times, but his book that has had the most impact on me is More Than A Carpenter. Early in my Christian education years, this book was probably the first book I read that addressed worldviews and why we believe what we believe. I've read this book many times and have been hooked on Christian worldview books since and continue to read them regularly.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
Many times, we find great Christian teachers by word of mouth and recommendations from our faculty, staff, or parents. Of course it is one thing to find great Christian teachers, and it is another thing to keep them. Teachers need an environment in which they can grow in their profession and their relationship with God, and they need to feel supported during any challenges they may face.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Developing a culture of wellbeing requires intentionality, time, and relationships. A healthy and positive culture happens over a period of time, so patience is a virtue. I enjoy popping in to see teachers for a few minutes during their planning period to see how things are going and connect. With students, I try to spend time with them during lunch, greet them by name, attend athletic and creative arts events, and put together and referee kickball tournaments during recess. On top of everything, smile as much as possible!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
I could list many meaningful stories that God has orchestrated over the years, but I'll share a more recent one, which impacts me directly. An area that I didn't realize early in my career that would be such a blessing to me is having my own kids attend the same school and seeing them nearly everyday in the hallways. This past school year while we were all home on quarantine, I was working in my home office, and my wife was teaching my Pre-K son the Bible lesson for the day. After a discussion on the parable of the lost sheep, my son understood what it meant to commit his life to Christ and felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to commit his life. He said, "This is my time." Since I was home, I was able to join the conversations and pray with him to receive Jesus in his heart!