New principal at Heritage Middle School excited, apprehensive

Heritage Middle School’s new principal is excited — and apprehensive — about the job he’ll start in January.

Greg Hernandez was named the new school’s principal at Monday night’s board meeting. Currently he is the assistant principal at Frenship High School, a position he has held since 2005.

“It’s a great time to start at a school,” said Hernandez. Although this will be his eighth year as an assistant administrator, it will be his first year as the principal. But he said that is good because he will not have to clean up any messes when he takes over the building.

“I am looking forward to hiring a staff and finding that right chemistry for our students to be successful,” he said.

Hernandez said as he looks toward moving into the principal position, it is a bittersweet time because he will miss the administrative team that FHS Principal Kim Spicer has put together.

“I was really very, very happy with the position I was in,” he said, noting that other districts had approached him about jobs, but he did not want to leave Frenship.

Hernandez knew early in his life that he wanted to be a teacher.

“I knew I wanted to be a coach; I knew I wanted to go into education,” he said.

His parents had to drop out before completing their own high school educations, so he and his older brother helped them improve their English skills and taught their dad algebra and trigonometry because he wanted to learn.

“For us to go to school and receive an education was very important to my parents,” said Hernandez.

Because his family did not have money to help him go to college, Hernandez went into the Army shortly after his high school graduation. After three years, he was able to leave the Army and attend college.

Hernandez said his military background made him focus heavily on discipline when he started as a teacher, but he said having two children with his wife, Shanay, has softened him. His son is a sixth-grader at Frenship Middle School, while his daughter is a second-grader at Bennett Elementary School.

“My attitude towards children has changed from when I had children,” he said. Although he still wants organization and structure in the classroom, Hernandez said he now wants to create a safe, welcoming learning environment for students.

“Kids come from a variety of backgrounds,” said Hernandez. “You have to take each individual student and cherish what they bring to your school.”

Prior to coming to Frenship in 2005, Hernandez worked for the Slaton school district since 1990, first as a teacher and assistant coach and later as the athletic director and head football coach from 1999 to 2002. Hernandez then became the assistant principal at Slaton Junior High School until 2005.

At Frenship, he started out as the freshman principal and went on to being the junior-, then senior-class principal. He has served as the math and science liaison and as the principal of Frenship’s Early College High School program, which was cut recently after grant money for it ran out.

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