Good, better, best
Never let them rest
Until your good is better and your better is best!

Crystal Hicks uses this motto to encourage her “All Stars,” the team name for her students at Robert Churchwell Magnet Elementary School. “As All Stars, we work as a team and with a sense of family. When one player shines, we all shine.”

Her school is located in the 37208 zip code of North Nashville, an area that has the highest incarceration rate in the U.S. according to a 2018 Brookings Institution study. That’s 14% or one in three young men.

“I want to lower that percentage,” said Hicks. “I do my best to show these kids there is more to discover and explore outside of their neighborhood. I try to expose them to different foods, music, arts, you name it.” This is another reason Hicks uses sports to motivate her “All Stars” on a daily basis.

She doesn’t just stop there. Hicks recently formed a mentorship program at her school for the teachers as well.

“Veteran teachers are paired with new teachers that have moved to the school or are fresh out of college,” said Hicks. “We meet monthly with guest speakers to inspire our group and form a positive work culture. Teacher retention has been tough for our school, and this has already made a difference. We had eight new teachers this year and all are returning.”

Hicks is going into her 28th year teaching. She is a two-time recipient of the Blue-Ribbon Award from the Nashville Public Education Foundation and two-time recipient of Teacher of the Year at Robert Churchwell. In 2019 she was inducted into the NPEF’s Hall of Fame as an Inspiring Educator. Hicks proudly served on the Mayors Teacher Council last year and received the 20-21 Elementary Teacher of the Year Award from Metro Nashville Public Schools.

“I look forward to taking my All Stars to watch a Nashville Stars game,” said Hicks “I teach my students that no matter what they are learning in class, no matter what game or sport they’re playing, no matter the outcome…  Always ask yourself, “Did you do your BEST?” That’s what is important. Always do your BEST.”

If you know of someone who is making a positive difference in our community, please let us know