There are five new principals at this year, and they're all excited to meet their students and the Birmingham community.
Comprising this new class of principals, all of whom replaced resigning or retiring administrators during the summer, are: Jamii Hitchcock at , Deana Lancaster at , Jason Clinkscale at , Laura Tinsley at the and Susan Crocker at .
Patch is catching up with all of Birmingham's new principals and introducing them to you in a series of profiles. Today, we're talking to:
Replacing: Jennifer Martella, who left Beverly at the end of last year.
History: Hitchcock, who grew up in and attended Novi Public Schools, began her career in Novi in 1997 as a ninth-grade language arts teacher. While there, she earned her master's in educational administration from Oakland University and was eventually promoted to dean of students at Novi.
After eight years in Novi, Hitchcock was hired as assistant principal at Seaholm High School, where she said she developed a "passion for working with struggling students" and began looking for ways to intervene in students' lives at earlier stages.
"I began to wonder, 'If you could intervene earlier, how would that change the trajectory of (a student's) life?' " she said.
After two years at Seaholm, Hitchcock accepted the assistant principal position at in 2007. Two years later, she assumed the principal position at Norup International School in Berkley, one of the few Title I Baccalaureate schools in the country.
However, when the Beverly Elementary principal position opened last year, Hitchcock said she couldn't turn down the opportunity. "I could not pass on an opportunity to return to Birmingham," she said.
Hitchcock is also a mother of two — son Mason, 5, who will be entering Midvale Early Childhood Center, and Gabrielle, 7, who attends Conant Elementary in Bloomfield Hills.
Plans for 2011-12: Hitchcock said she's not planning to make any major changes this year but does want to continue provide enrichment opportunities for Beverly students.
"I'm hoping to dig deep and provide additional opportunities for kids to use technology in the classroom," she said.
Hitchcock said she plans to be in every classroom this year and hopes to learn the names of every one of Beverly's 350 students.
Why she loves Beverly: Hitchcock said that during her time at Derby, one of the teachers was a Beverly parent. "She would talk about how much she loved Beverly," Hitchcock said, noting that at Beverly, she already feels an integral part of "such a wonderful community."
"This is a community that has worked hard to preserve traditional family values, while balancing innovation and 21st-century learning," she said.
"I feel very fortunate," she said. "I'm looking forward to a wonderful year."
Message to parents and students: "I have an open-door policy," Hitchcock said. "I want parents to feel like they can come up to me and talk to me. We are partners in the education of their children."