Crystal Hicks Crystal is a committed teacher and leader in her school and community. She could have moved into becoming a capable school administrator, but instead stayed true to her calling to make a difference in the lives of the children that she teaches every day and every year. Crystal does numerous things to set herself apart – from her skill as an educator and her esteem in the community to her dedication to excellence in instruction and her love for the children in her classroom week in and week out. Mayor Cooper once stated Crystal is “a leader who stayed in the classroom.” She is routinely called on to mentor younger teachers and regularly brings business people, sports figures, entertainers, civil servants and entrepreneurs into the classroom to expose children to role models. She also plans special events to celebrate holidays like the 100th Day of School and Dr. Seuss Day and provides clothing and food staples to children whose needs aren’t being met. She does all of this while delivering among the highest standardized test scores among her peers.