Administrators and teachers have the ability to be some of the most influential people in not only our lives, but our children’s lives. We entrust our ‘babies’ to them for more waking hours than we sometimes have with them on a daily basis. They, like children, come in all shapes and sizes, all demeanors, strong areas and weak areas, but for those who work with children with special needs, they have a halo above their heads. Jackson County is so richly blessed to have one awesome educator/administrator who gives ‘Hope’ where there was none previously - Dr. Millicent Braxton, principal at Hope School in Marianna is the light of many children’s eyes every day.
Braxton is a graduate of Chipola College, Troy State University with a BS degree in Psychology and Human Services, an MS degree from Troy University in Counseling and Psychology, and Eds from the University of West Florida in Educational Leadership. She obtained her EdD from the University of West Florida with a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Diversity.
If you look at Dr. Braxton’s page from Hope School, she says, “I worked as a mental health counselor prior to working at Hope School. I began teaching at Hope in 2003. I taught a Primary class for nine and a half years and then became the TSA at Hope in January 2013. I was trained by former principal, Mrs. Macaluso, for three years in administration. I love the students at Hope and will strive to continue our tradition of success here at Hope School.”
She has done nothing short of that, providing the students who attend there with a nurturing and learning environment conducive to their special needs. She has developed a staff that is above the bar in caring for their students. She makes no bones about how special Hope School is and that although most schools operate on a regular clock for time, Hope School has its own time. Recently, they held yet another celebration of a great accomplishment by their students. Their two basketball teams, cheerleaders, coaches, and staff were recognized for another pair of State Championships. In addressing the crowd, Braxton said, “Some might say we are running a little late, but we operate on Hope School time here.” Her devotion to her students goes far above what could possibly be expected of a day-to-day administrator. When her basketball teams were so closing to bringing home state championships, she added a little motivation to the pot. Braxton let the teams know when they both won state, she would do a cartwheel and as the medals were waiting to be handed out, Braxton was on the hardwood, living up to her offer of a cartwheel. This action delighted the players and cheerleaders.
Don Holland has worked at Hope School for 13 years and has the utmost respect for Braxton as an administrator, “She is amazing and Hope School is blessed to have her as a principal. She always comes to work smiling and with a positive attitude and always puts the kids first. The kids recognize her as a positive person and their eyes and hearts light up when she enters their room or the cafeteria. “
As a teacher under Braxton’s administration, Tanya Wiggins has the highest praise for her, “She is wonderful. The kids and staff love her. She is so caring and the kids recognized that immediately. They love it when they see her because she always has a big smile and a ‘Hello, how are you today, Sydney?’ for them. She knows every child by name and they know it.”
Brandi Harris has a child who attends Hope School, “Dr. Braxton is very supportive as far as academics and she’s very involved with the programs at the school. The kids love her. Every time I’ve been there for any reason, she always stops and hugs and calls every child by name when she passes them.”
The programs at Hope School are evidence of the level of skill and education that is provided under her leadership. Braxton has returned cheerleaders to the court to support their six-time state champions basketball team. Students arrive eager to be on campus and leave with a smile offering proof in the pudding that they have had a great day!