Meet Out New Principal, Dr. Hedrick

Ameena Farooqui, Maddy Chen, and Maddy Mudd

The idea of interviewing Dr. Hedrick came out of pure curiosity. We, as students, stepped into Green Hope with new policies that we didn’t quite understand. We hoped interviewing the principal would give us insight into these changes, as well as giving the student body an opportunity to get to know Dr. Hedrick as a person. As we conducted our interview over the course of three days, one thing was for sure, Dr. Hedrick was a busy boss woman. Not only did she give us more than enough time to conduct our interview, but she also answered our questions with humor, thought, and insight.

Stepping into a new environment, Dr. Hedrick wants to build relationships with students/admin and create a safe learning space for all of us. She values education to the highest degree and seeks student input at our school. Her goal is to build leaders in all of us and make sure we have access to the resources we need to do that.

Dr. Hedrick has a large family with two daughters. One daughter has a daughter that is 19 months old and her second daughter has five children ages seven, four, and three. Her mother and grandmother were both gardeners, and she too loves planting. Gardening is also a passion of hers because she loves seeing her long term investments grow. Her favorite plants are her hydrangeas, which she got from her mother-in-law.  She says, “I like to watch things grow and see the long term investment pay off in my children, family, my plants, etc.”  

In addition to gardening, she loves to read and says she is a really bad golfer and tennis player. She also enjoys running, and though she can’t do it as much as she did before, her love for the sport is still strong. She grew up at the beach in NC. There wasn’t a track or cross country team, but if there was, she would have definitely been a part of both.  “It’s hard to grow up in North Carolina and be tall, but not athletic”

Musically, you probably won’t catch her listening to the new Post Malone album, her favorite music mostly includes alternative rock, soft rock, or jazz.

And while she loves gardening and running, her a true passion of hers is education.

“The inside part of me will always be a teacher.” Before becoming a principal, she was a teacher and now that she is a principal, she feels that it is her responsibility to help teachers have all the resources they need in order to provide students positive opportunities. She said, “For an educator, there’s nothing like seeing the whole thing [the entire school- faculty, students, and staff] working together.” 

She continues, “If I had one passion besides my family, it would be seeing the wide array of different things occurring and being part of the change.” And change is something that has been on the mind of Green Hope students since the summer. She elaborated on some of her ideas and motivations for us in a wide-ranging, informative interview.

How would you describe your leadership style? 

“I’m always way off from everyone else [in the personality matrix], I never recognized it as a leadership trait though. I was never a student who only had one friend group. I was never a cliquey person.” This, she thinks, is one of the attributes that makes her a leader; she’s able to get along with many different groups of people because she recognizes their needs and values. “I think true leaders don’t need to be in the front,” she added.

People who end up running things never are one thing; it’s a characteristic that true leaders don’t need to be at the top. 

Are there any commonalities between Green Hope and Panther Creek?

“Here, we have built a longer culture, so there are a lot more traditions here,” she commented. Some of which she is still learning about such as the countdown clock or the 2002 falcon statue.

Why do you feel the new changes are necessary? What are your goals behind the new rules and for the future?

“You’ve seen the news lately. We need to be safe.”  She wants to provide a strong, positive learning environment with less stress and more room for open learning in the pursuit of advanced knowledge. However, she said, ”If we’re not safe, we’re nothing.”

Safety is her biggest and first concern when it comes to students, especially with Green Hope’s overpopulation issue. She thinks the changes are logical.

For example, the 7:00 AM rule reasoning was “How do you get the 2,500 students where they’re going, in the most logical, the most productive, and the organizational manner in order to go  to a non-stressed area?” She wants students to be in quiet, focused environments with teacher supervision in order to get ready for class and bond with teachers. 

Another new implement is the locked doors in the morning, which she explained saying, “People ask me, ‘Why are you locking the doors?’ I mean, why is there air?” You lock your doors at home to prevent intruders why wouldn’t you do the same thing at school?”

She believes a student’s job is to learn and it’s her job to keep them safe and place them in an environment where they are able to accomplish that. 

What called you to Green Hope?

“You needed me. But I also needed you. Being at a high school is definitely my niche. I like it better than the middle school where I used to be a principal.” 

This is true as the because we lost so many teachers, administrators, and our principal to Green Level. The district higher-ups needed someone with knowledge and experience. She is confident in the job she does and she knows this is where she was needed.  

Goals for policies going forward?

Simply: The Building and The People 

She wants to provide students with credentials and real skills they can use in order to become efficacious citizens, commenting, “Being principal of an internationally ranked school, that’s real.”

Ex: Extending SMART lunch- In an hour, you can meet and take care of things with a teacher, or have an hour-long tutoring session and still have time to eat.  She said, ”This is something I can make better, and I have the power in my hands to do so.”

Ex: Changing the locker bays- “There’s a difference between sitting and standing.” she wants to remove the lockers and replace them with tables and even carpet. She likes everything open so that students can come together and sit and learn but also a place for teachers to do the same. “Teachers are also students, and I’m their teacher,” she commented. “My goal for teachers is to continue to be learners.” 

The voices of the student body are important to her but so too is communication which is another area she is working to improve.

Dr. Hedrick’s goals stem from the desire o build sincere and authentic relationships with students and for teachers to do the same. 

Like most students, we hadn’t previously met Dr. Hedrick.  We were curious, just as many of you are, about who she was and what she stood for. And truthfully, she is a really nice person. She shared pictures of her grandkids with us and expressed her goal of learning the names of her students. She is open to suggestions and comments and is focused on learning in a safe environment. And while she is still learning and getting used to Green Hope, she wants to make the school better. Though nothing was wrong before, she has an idea for the future of Green Hope- one that is still the Green Hope we know and love, but also one with more opportunities, more safety, and even more memorable experiences. Dr. Hedrick has a number of new changes in mind but all of them are for the betterment of the school and for one, we are excited to see what she has in store.