Hickory Creek Elementary’s new principal Rachael Graves is ready to get started.
“I wanted to try something different,” said Graves when asked why she decided to leave her principal position at Irving College and shift to Hickory Creek, a much larger school.
“I can grow professionally,” she added.
Graves said she has no particular reason why she decided to leave Irving College. She started her career at the small, rural school in 2006 and said she had no interest in becoming the principal. But when the opportunity to expand her horizons came available, she jumped at it and has been the principal at Irving College for six years.
Graves said, “I’m excited to have a fresh start. I’m finishing 15 years here.”
She is excited to meet new people and work with a new community, but is going to miss Irving College.
“I know many of the students and we’re a family,” she said, but she is ready to have another family at Hickory Creek. She already has family there as her mother-in-law Sherry Graves has taught there for years and her nieces also attend the elementary school.
It’s also common for teachers and administrators to work at multiple schools in the county, so a few teachers at Hickory Creek she has worked with at Irving College.
With the excitement, she also said she is nervous. “It’s a much larger school with programs Irving College doesn’t have which brings some nerves,” Graves said.
Despite the size increase, she is comforted in that she has experience as a principal and wants to continue that work.
Graves is taking the position of Hickory Creek principal after the departure of Mike Mansfield, who is taking a central office position. Coincidentally, this is the second time Graves has done this as she replaced Mansfield as Irving College principal six years ago.
With Graves taking another position previously held by Mansfield, she said that people ask her, “Are you just going to follow Mike everywhere?”
She said she never says no to an opportunity to grow professionally, so if Mansfield were to leave his new position down the road, Graves said she may think about pursuing that.
Both Graves and Mansfield will assume their new positions June 1.
The Irving College principal position is currently open for applications.