Though his contract doesn’t officially begin until Aug. 1, Mike Bick, formerly the principal of Bright Local Elementary, has been settling into his new position as Bright Local superintendent since July 1.
Bick worked as a substitute teacher at Bright Local during the 2015-16 school year after retiring from Eastern Brown schools, where he worked first as an art teacher for grades 5-12 for 17 years then as the principal at Sardinia Elementary.
When Bick became the principal of Bright Local Elementary in 2016, he told The Times-Gazette that he decided to re-enter the educational system full-times because he missed the kids.
Bick served as interim superintendent for Bright Local Schools for three weeks early in the 2019-20 school after then-superintendent Ted Downing passed away. Terry Fouch, another longtime local educator, then served as the superintendent for the remainder of the year.
“I think I might be crazy to take this job during this crazy time,” Bick joked. “I like it very, very much, and I tell you what, this school district is exceptional in the fact that the people here — the students, parents, teachers — really make the school district what it is. I think it’s an outstanding school district, and it’s reflected in the people who are here. [The sense of community] is very, very strong here. The community and the people who work here make it a very special place to be. That’s why I stuck with it.”
Regardless of the format the 2020-21 school year will take at Bright Local Schools, Bick said he’s looking forward to providing students with the best possible education.
“I’m looking forward to trying to provide the best education possible for our students,” Bick said. “Even in light of the COVID situation that’s going on, to me, being in the business of education, we’ve got to provide the best education we possibly can, whether that be through all day, every day or a remote-learning piece. Getting the kids into school and providing them the best — that’s what makes a difference in your community. Getting those little ones in there to get them a positive education, to get them to see the value of that is what it’s all about.”
This desire, in part, is motivated by the desire to help inspire a new generation of students as his teachers inspired him while he was a student at Hillsboro City Schools and Southern State Community College.
“As for all of us in education, there’s probably that one person who you liked who did have a positive impact on you. For me, that was my art teacher,” said Bick, who graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1977. “I had Mrs. Morris and Mary Gardener. Both of them were great art teachers for me, and they made that impact on me. When I went to Southern State, I met up James Werline, and he kind of carried on with that — he got me to continue on with my art. There’s always a mentor out there, there’s always a person who highly influenced you. My early education very much impacted me into the direction I would go with my life.”
Werline also inspired Bick to attend Morehead State University, where he majored in art.
With this kind of impact and a good education, students won’t be the only ones who benefit, Bick said.
“A community can positively be affected by the kids who come from that community,” Bick said. “If we can provide opportunities for them to be successful through education, then we know we’re on target. It’ll have a long-term impact on the community when the kids can come out of Bright Local with a good education and opportunities for the future.
“During these trying times or these difficult times, we need to work together and pull together to ensure the kids of our community are provided with the best opportunities we can possibly provide them. We’ve got to get these kids a good education so they can see a future, so they can see an opportunity.”
The 2020-21 school year will mark Bick’s 37th year in education.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.