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New Principal Hired for King Elementary
New Principal Hired for King Elementary
A. Pickrel
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Valerie Hawkins was hired at the June 23, 2020 Board of Education meeting to fill the open position for a principal at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. “Galesburg CUSD #205 is fortunate to have a great many highly qualified educators, and Valerie Hawkins has been a highly respected member of our faculty for many years. We feel she will be a tremendous leader for our newly renovated King building. The students, staff, and parents will have the benefit of working with a student-centered individual who will do all she can to see that each student is academically challenged and supported on a daily basis,” according to Superintendent, Dr. Asplund.

Mrs. Hawkins graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She then attended Western Illinois and received her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. 

After moving to the Galesburg area in the summer of 1998, Mrs. Hawkins began her first teaching assignment at King Elementary. She was welcomed by veteran and new staff who mentored and guided her through all the aspects of being a new teacher at King. Over the course of the next three years, she taught in a pilot program established by Galesburg CUSD #205 that was housed at Stone School. The position provided Mrs. Hawkins the opportunity to team teach as well as work with parents and community members to create learning experiences for students. After completing the pilot program, she was asked to select a building that she would like to be assigned to. Without hesitation, she decided to return to King Elementary. She began teaching 1st Grade and remained teaching in 1st until transitioning to an Instructional Coach this past year. 

According to Mrs. Hawkins, “This new school year presents both excitement and challenges for King and our district as a whole. COVID-19 changed the landscape for how the 19-20 school year ended and the path for the beginning of the new year is being charted. For students, family, and staff, we will have the chance to create a King School together in this new environment. The expansion and renovation of the building, the assembling of talented staff from across the district and the addition of students and families creates positive anticipation for the future.”

Initial priorities for Mrs. Hawkins includes communication and connecting with students, families, staff, and the community as she continues to strive to provide a quality educational experience for the students in a safe environment for all.  

Mrs. Hawkins currently lives just outside the city of Galesburg with her husband, and two children. Her son, Owen, is a 2018 graduate of Galesburg High School and currently attends the University of Nebraska. Luke is currently attending Galesburg High School and will be a junior this fall.