Hancock named Philadelphia Elementary’s next principal
PHILADELPHIA — Melisha Hancock will not have any trouble finding her way around as she takes over as principal at Philadelphia Elementary School.
That’s where she began her career in education and she is looking forward to her new assignment.
“The elementary school is where everything starts,” Hancock said. “I never thought I would be going back to the elementary school. You move up but then you say I need to go back there.
“If you want to make the biggest difference, you have to be where everything starts. And this is where a child’s education starts”
Hancock has held several positions during her 20-plus years with the Philadelphia School District.
She started as a third-grade teacher at Philadelphia Elementary School. She taught third grade for six years and sixth grade for five years. Then she moved over to the high school. There she taught math and algebra and later served as assistant principal over the middle school. She was also the cheerleader sponsor.
Hancock is originally from Columbia. She attended Southwest Community College and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi. She received her master’s degree from Mississippi State University.
Hancock has her National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Math.
During the past year, she has been director over federal programs and curriculum. She did that while also teaching eighth-grade math and algebra.
From her experience as curriculum director, Hancock has seen how a student’s education career is connected, from kindergarten all the way through their senior year.
“The biggest thing is making sure our students leave each grade ready for the next grade,” Hancock said. “We have to make sure they are working on grade level.
“Reading and Language Arts are so important. Our students need to expand their vocabulary. How can you read a word and spell it if you don’t use it and know what it means? I want school to be enjoyable for everyone but we have to remember we are in the business of education,” Hancock said.
Hancock said she and her staff can’t do it alone. It is going to take families and the community getting involved to move the elementary school forward.
“I know many of the families,” Hancock said. “I have taught many of the parents whose children are in the elementary school. I have taught older brothers and sisters,” Hancock said. “I am not above picking up the phone and calling a parent when we need their support. We will use these connections to reach our students. Parental contact is so important.”
Superintendent Dr. Lisa Hull said Hancock is the right person for the job.
“She has seen our school district, pre-K through 12, so she has a great understanding of what needs to happen,” Hull said. “She has already established a relationship with the community and that will be a great asset to the school as we move forward. We hate to lose her over here as curriculum director but this where we need her now.”
Hancock said she had thought about applying for the principal’s position but hesitated because she has just started the job as director of federal programs and curriculum.
“Mrs. Hull asked me if I would consider applying,” Hancock said. “She mentioned it and I was very interested. I can see from working in this position things that I would like to see happen there and things I can do and add to make sure we are successful.”