Parker Hicks, an activity assistant in the Higley Unified School District, was named the Arizona Community Education Association Program Line leader of the Year.
Mr. Hill, who started with the district in May 2019, works with the before- and after-school Kids Club program at Higley’s Sossaman Early Childhood Development Center, according to release.
“Parker Hicks is a dedicated, loyal, hardworking staff,” Emily Hill, who supervises Hicks as the preschool’s Kids Club program leader, said in the release. “He goes above and beyond every day, coming up with creative crafts, science experiments, and group games. He is extremely flexible and always ready to change things up if needed.”
Ms. Hill nominated Mr. Hicks for the award.
“He is a one-of-a-kind staff who always incorporates fun into everything he does. He loves the kids and takes the time to get to know every one of them. The kids adore him and always look forward to getting to play with him. This award could not go to a better person," she said.
Mr. Hicks enjoys his job with Higley’s Community Education Department.
“I love working with kids because not only is it fun, but there is something special about making that special connection with a kid, whether it's one kid or all of your kids,” Mr. Hicks said.
His favorite activity, he said, is reading stories to the children, specifically “The Book with No Pictures,” by BJ Novak.
"If you don't know already, ‘The Book with No Pictures’ is a book that practically has you make a fool out of yourself by shouting nonsense words and phrases and other things among that realm. That book was the tool that I used to break out of my shell at Kids Club and ultimately that book is the reason a lot of my kids opened up to me, as well," he said.
Mr. Hicks said interacting with the students in a number of ways builds engagement, which makes his job even better.
"Once you build that relationship with your kids then coming to work and interacting with them becomes all the more engaging and it gets to a point where you don't really even feel like you're working anymore," he said.