My name is Ricky Hamilton.  Actually, it’s Richard.  Being named after my father, my parents called me Ricky from the time I was born and it’s stuck.  There were times, when others wanted to change it.  My high school band director preferred they announce “Rick” over speakers when introducing our band.  Various school personnel I’ve worked with and for have unsuccessfully attempted to call me “Rick” or “Richard”.  While I sign legal documents as Richard and it’s the signature of my work email, I am Ricky.

I have been an educator for over 16 years in various states, districts, and capacities.  I have taught in a 4th grade classroom in both North Carolina and Virginia.  As well, I have been a librarian in North Carolina and Virginia.  I have work in 5 elementary schools and in addition to the many summer school programs in which I participated.  I view my varied background as a plus.  I come to school leadership with a broad understanding of how geographical, socio-economic, and cultural setting affect student learning.

I am a school leader but more importantly, I am a learner.  I consume news, information, and data.  This consumption fuels me to question status quo.  I question not to be arbitrary or contrarian, but to see if all perspectives have been taught out.  I am a head shaker, jump in feet first, lead of pencil (or any other cliched analogy) kind of guy. But I do so with students’ interests in mind.  My belief is if I take risks and try something new, then I set a good example for students.  If I am successful, it’s great!  If I am not, then I know where to start from and how to adapt.

My passion is education reform. While the term is broad, for me it means truly meeting the needs of today’s learners. In order for students to understand the power of learning and for schools to truly create life-long learners, I believe teachers need to model, teach, and promote critical thinking. Students need to be able to think flexibly and critically. Flexible and critical thinking are important factors to growth and success. Many of today’s jobs were not around 20 years ago. Today’s Kindergarteners may work in careers that have not yet been imagined, much less created. For schools to properly prepare students to work in careers we know nothing about, we need to teach how to think and reason. Students need to understand how to evaluate information in order tackle life’s actual and unknown obstacles. We cannot teach everyone how to do the necessary work however being able to think critically will set them up for greater success.

That success begins with understanding the power of information. Instructional leaders need to rely on librarians to prepare students how to harness the power of information.

But before I am a learner and an educator, I am a husband, dad, and dog owner who loves the ocean and finds strength in the sheer beauty of sunrises and sunsets.  I am obsessed with pop culture and a political news junkie.