Faye M. Garrison
Hilldale Elementary School
Hilldale Public Schools
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Faye M. Garrison

The school that Faye Garrison has headed since 1995 once had what she calls an “above-average reading program.” However, “I wasn’t satisfied with good because I wanted us to be the best,” she says. So Garrison and her staff researched instructional strategies for promoting literacy and attended training workshops on reading instruction. They then implemented a guided reading program that enables them to meet the differing learning needs of all students. In Garrison’s 14 years as principal of Hilldale Elementary, the suburban Pre-K-5 school’s enrollment has reached 948. Garrison now leads a team of 60 certified staff and 25 support staff members. During her tenure, the demographics of the student population have changed in ways that present new challenges for academic achievement. Yet with Garrison’s guidance, the school has seen increases in teacher unity, improvements in the learning environment, and raised expectations for students and staff. Today, community members and other visitors to the school comment on the upbeat, friendly atmosphere and array of school programs. Among the programs that Garrison launched is a character education initiative called C.A.R.E. It promotes “Cooperation, Attitude, Respect/Responsibility, and Extra Effort in our Environment.” Students can earn small rewards called C.A.R.E. bucks by exhibiting good citizenship that goes beyond expectations. Garrison holds a B.S. and an M.S. from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.