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Angie Hicks brings family-centered approach to new job as chief of secondary schools in Madison


Angie Hicks has spent many years in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) as a student, teacher, and administrator. These experiences give her the tools and insight on the needs of MMSD students, as an alumna of the district herself. She spent the last 10 years as principal of James C. Wright Middle School, and recently transitioned to become the Chief of Secondary Schools-Middle Schools of MMSD. 

“I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin,” said Hicks. “I went to Aldo Leopold Elementary School. I went to St. James for my sixth and seventh-grade year. And then I went to Lincoln Middle School for my second semester of eighth grade and graduated from West High School. So I’ve been, really, a part of this system from the beginning.”

Hicks arrived at MMSD as a clerk typist senior in 1990. After working a few years, she focused on finishing her educational pursuits at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While enrolled, she was a student teacher and Title V Indian Education Tutor Coordinator.  She has taught at many schools in MMSD including Whitehorse Middle School and Emerson Elementary School. She has years of experience working with students. Hicks is excited to safely start the semester and engage with MMSD students and the community. 

“I’m looking forward to the joy of children,” said Hicks. “I’m looking forward to centering them and centering their spirit, their social-emotional being. And then to really leverage their academics, having high expectations, and creating meaningful and strong relationships throughout this process. I’m centering scholars and schools, but not just that. Also, their families, because whom all they bring with them is now a part of us as a school district. So, we can’t just say, ‘oh, we’re just focusing on kids’. We have to triangulate that and there’s a school piece, there’s a family piece, there’s a community piece, and we all have to really be intentional about the work centering them. And everything that we can to ensure they are successful.”

She has also served on the MMSD Early Literacy Task Force. She has been in administrative roles as assistant principal at Sherman Middle School and Hamilton Middle School. After receiving her doctorate degree from Edgewood College, she became the principal of Wright Middle School.

Angie Hicks accepts the 2018 Principal of the Year award. Photo via MMSD Facebook page.

Her plan as Chief of Secondary Schools is to engage with all middle schools in the district to better understand their needs. Her primary goal is to assist teachers and administrators to better serve the students. 

“That’s where the majority of my time is spent: in the schools,” said Hicks. “Because if I’m there to support and partner with principals and schools, I have to become an integral part of their school communities. Not just as a presence. But I have to be able to know and live and breathe each school so that I can advocate for and support the needs of those places in meaningful ways and intentionally. Because people will tell you they need a lot of stuff. And I wouldn’t really know if they needed it or how they needed it. I would have to rely on what they said. But if I’m a part of the community not just in the school, but outside of the school, getting to know families, hearing their voices, their staff voices, their scholar voices, then I can have a much greater impact.”

Hicks understands the importance of her role and is authentic in her teaching. She knows her role is bigger than her. Her work in MMSD is for students who needed to be pushed and encouraged like she did as a middle school student. She knows that her purpose is to serve all students, center their needs and mold them to be the best they can be. 

“This is heart work,” said Hicks. “This is the work of humanity. And we have to center people in this work.”