Madeline Hawkins has already made a positive change around the district. She has taken on the task of leading Galena High School as the principal for the 2022-2023 school year. She recently finished last year as the principal of Rocketship Southside Community Prep public schools.
Hawkins grew up on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin. She has two children, ages four and two. “My parents still live in Galena and we’re excited to put down some roots and make Galena our home for the rest of our lives,” Hawkins said. After living in many big cities, going to Harvard, seeing the world, and more, Madeline Hawkins and her family are looking forward to gaining the feel of a close-knit community.
Hawkins has extensive school leadership experience and an impressive background. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Relations at the University of Iowa and her master’s in School Leadership at Harvard University in 2016. After teaching for seven years in Chicago, in kindergarten and K4 classrooms, she served as Assistant Principal at Rocketship Southside Community Prep public schools for six years. She then moved on to become the principal in 2018 and stayed in that position until the end of last school year.
The Hawkins family always planned on moving back to Galena at some point. Madeline Hawkins grew up in Galena, and it is truly where her heart is. She wanted to bring her two children back to her hometown and give them the small-town feel.
When Hawkins heard that GHS’s previous principal, Mrs. Murphy, was retiring, she saw it as an exciting opportunity. “Galena has always been a monumental place in my life,” said Hawkins, “being back in this wonderful community is very exciting!”
Along with her extensive education and experience, Hawkins has many strengths she has already brought to the Galena Unit School District. She is a considerate listener as well as an attentive collaborator.
“I want to make sure that when new things are implemented, everyone’s voice and opinion are heard,” she said, “I am open to hearing what other people have to say and learning what others have to offer.” Getting feedback and advice, as well as taking the ideas of community members into consideration are both important elements that Hawkins wants to make sure are being prioritized. “Mrs. Hawkins is making GHS a welcoming place by being present and available,” said Mrs. Rosenthal. “To name a few, she started the year off right with the first-day assembly, she is visiting classrooms, and she is interacting with students in the hallway.”
Hawkins is already planning to get on top of some large and small-scale changes within the school campus. Her first goal was to meet and get to know the community. “I want to spend time learning and talking with students, staff, and families about things that are working and things that need to be changed,” she said.
Hawkins emphasized the importance of listening to the community’s feedback and ideas. She wants to build up current programs and ensure engagement for all students.
“I want there to be a place for every student within the school and its programs,” Hawkins said. She has thus far created a welcoming environment for students to attend. “Having Mrs. Hakins in the school is a great new change for the community,” said Taylor Hilby ‘23. “She is always accommodating all the teachers and students, making sure everyone is having a great day.”
One topic Hawkins wants to focus on is how to continue to bring students even more opportunities in their academics as well as in their social lives. She wants to make the next steps after high school easier for students.
“One thing I’m looking forward to is building relationships with students,” she said, “I’m excited to set up the future generations for whatever they may want to pursue”
Principal Hawkins has brought a new positive and exciting energy to GHS. As she becomes a familiar face around the school, let’s all do our best to make her first year here terrific!