Greg Hawkins has informed the Fall River Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees that he will be retiring as Superintendent at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
Looking back over a career in the school district spanning almost four decades, Hawkins said with a smile, “The whole picture just been great, from my first teaching job up to the present day.”
Hawkins moved to Fall River Mills with his family in 1959 when he was three years old. He attended Fall River Elementary School and Fall River Junior Senior High School. He was in the 9th grade when Burney High School opened. He graduated from Fall River High School in 1974.
After graduating he attended Shasta Community College and received his AA and then went on the California State University, Chico where he earned his BA in Physical Education in 1978. He continued on to get his teaching credential doing his student teaching at Red Bluff High School and received his teaching credentials in 1979.
That summer was an eventful summer. After receiving his teaching credentials, he returned home to marry his high school sweetheart, Rena Oiler. They have been happily married for 40 years and have three sons: Brent, 36, Tyler, 34, and Preston 32. They have two grandchildren, one boy Rider who is three years old, and a seven month old granddaughter Raiya.
For their honeymoon, the couple went to Happy Camp, where Hawkins was hired by the Siskiyou Union High School District to teach English and Drama at the high school. He also coached Football, Basketball, and Baseball . He was named Happy Camp’s High School Teacher of the Year in 1979.
Hawkins taught at Happy Camp though 1981. In 1982, he came to Burney to teach English at Burney High School.
“It was one of my best years of teaching. Great town, great staff,” he said.
It was also interesting experience coaching the Burney sports teams who had been his rivals not so many years before.
Concerning his years of coaching, Hawkins said that over time he realized that the relationships with the students was more important than winning or losing. Some years you have really talented players and an extraordinary season. But the years when the players you work with are not as gifted, the kids still work just as hard with just as much enthusiasm and it is just as inspiring.
Then from 1982 through 1983, Hawkins worked with the Regional Occupation Program, assisted some teachers, and taught English part time.
From 1983 until 1996, he taught English, Social Studies, and PE at Fall River High School.
After receiving his Pupil Personnel Services Credential, Hawkins served as full time school counselor for Fall River Junior-Senior High School from 1997-2000. He earned his M.S. in Pupil Personnel Services from the University of LaVerne in 1997.
From 2000-2006, he served as Vice Principal at Fall River Junior Senior High School. He also continued to serve as counselor and in addition became athletic director. Then from 2006 to 2011, he was Principal of the Fall River High School. In 2011, he was appointed District Superintendent.
In the role of Superintendent, Hawkins said the budget is always of primary concern. It would be nice to always have the money for everything you want to do, but there are often changes in state funding. The challenge is to make sure that we continue to meet the needs of our students and the community for optimum education.
He also said that maintaining a safe environment for students and teachers has become a top priority. He believes that the district has done its best to ensure that the schools are safe and that teachers, staff, students and law enforcement are prepared to respond quickly and appropriately in case of any emergency.
“One thing that I am most proud of is when one of our graduates goes on to become successful and then comes back to give back to our community. Thirty percent of our teachers are graduates from this district. That’s rewarding!”
Many of the employees of the District were once his students.
Hawkins is an affable people person. He spoke warmly of his appreciation for all of the support that individuals and organizations in the community give to the schools. He also praised the staff, teachers, and Board Members who have worked hard to make the school system successful. Most of all he spoke of how much he has enjoyed interacting with the students as a teacher, coach, counselor, and administrator for the past 36 years and how rewarding it is when past students come up to say hello and remind him of experiences they shared in the past.
After retiring, Hawkins looks forward to traveling with his wife and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Hawkins will retire at the end of the school year on June 28. He believes that the FRJUSD is in good shape. During the remainder of his term, he wants to ensure that everything will be in order so that there will be a smooth transition for his successor.