Taylor Hicks’ new principal in running for state award as ‘rookie’ elementary school administrator
At Prescott High School, the now-Taylor Hicks Elementary School principal was a stand-out student, someone her then-English teacher saw as a “natural born leader.”
“She is very collaborative, very organized and very educationally-minded,” said Kelli Bradstreet, now the district’s director of professional development who founded the district’s instructional coaches and worked with her former student, Kelsey Secor, as one of those elementary grade coaches. “She is a true instructional leader.”
Secor, too, is always poised, confident and pleasant, Bradstreet said.
“There’s not much that ruffles her feathers,” Bradstreet said of her former student who is now married to Steve, also a loyal Prescott High Badger. The couple has two daughters, Peyton, 12, a Prescott Mile High Middle School seventh-grader, and Kaylin, 10, a Granite Mountain fifth-grader.
Nominated as the Arizona School Administrators Elementary Rookie Principal of the Year, Secor said she is so honored to be recognized, primarily, as this is an award that stems from support of her peers.
The final awards will be presented to winners in June.
“The staff had very nice things to say,” said Secor who was named Taylor Hicks’ principal a year just over a year ago.
Secor’s journey to Prescott Unified School District as an educator started a decade ago, two years after she started teaching, one year in Apache Junction and one year at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School.
District Superintendent Joe Howard, then the principal at Mile High Middle School, hired Secor as a sixth-through-eighth grade math teacher. She spent four years there accepting a third-grade position at Lincoln Elementary. From there, she became an instructional coach at both Lincoln and Taylor Hicks Elementary schools for two years.
She was then promoted to assistant principal at Mile High Middle School. In January last year, Secor was tapped to be the interim principal at Taylor Hicks when the school’s decade-long leader, Brian Moore, was hired as the district’s chief financial officer. Two months later, she was offered the permanent post.
“She’s fantastic,” Moore said of his successor who he said he has watched as a classroom teacher, an instructional coach and as a fellow administrator.
Her approach to instruction, and emphasis on the development of strong character traits in students, embodies all of what “Taylor Hicks was, is, and will be,” Moore said.
Such accolades are a strong affirmation for Secor, who headed off to college thinking she might pursue a career in medicine, but quickly discovered that was not where her heart was headed.
After her first education course, Secor said she was hooked. And she still is.
“I honestly feel I have the best job in the world,” Secor said.