With tears brimming in her eyes, Dickinson Independent School District Superintendent Vicki Mims reflected on her almost 40-year-career as an educator and an administrator.
“Our strength is our people,” she said. “Our strength is our employees in the district.”
Mims has worked for the school district for 39 years, witnessing growth in the district and changes to the community. She will retire in August after being Dickinson ISD’s superintendent for seven years.
Mims, 64, moved to Dickinson and began her career as an English teacher at Dickinson High School in 1979. She also served the district in various roles, including teacher, counselor and principal.
Retiring felt right at this point in her life, and it’s time to let someone else handle the district, Mims said.
“You don’t want a superintendent who gets up in the morning and is tired,” she said. “I don’t want to get to that point. I want to leave on a high note.”
Mims leaves behind a school district growing by between 200 to 400 students a year, officials said. About 9,100 students attended the district in the 2011-2012 school year.
By the end of this school year, that number had increased to 10,800 students.
Growth can be scary, but the district will ensure students get the best education, Mims said.
“I feel confident,” she said. “Our board is very committed to our kids.”
Officials recently announced plans to build an $18 million ninth-grade center using leftover bond funds and the district’s fund balance to support the growing population.
The ninth-grade center is a tool the district will use to help with the growing population of Dickinson, Mims said.
People are still trying to come back to the city, and the district will have to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which struck in August, for a few years, Mims said.
“Sometimes, people don’t have the means to move again,” she said. “That will impact the district.”
And while Mims is anxious about the city and the community, the generosity shown gives her hope for a bright future, she said.
“You are always concerned, but the spirit of the community makes me not worried,” she said.
Mims has crafted a strong district and the city has big shoes to fill, Mayor Julie Masters said.
“Vicki has done an outstanding job,” Masters said. “I have mixed feelings about her leaving. You always worry about who fills those shoes. I’m really happy for her. Job well done.”
Mims will be missed because she has helped provide staff and students with the facilities they need, Dickinson ISD board member Mike Mackey said.
“Over the years, the board and Mims have worked hard to put the district in a healthy place and we intend to keep the momentum for the good of our students and staff,” he said.
The new superintendent will need to connect with the community to be successful, Mims said.
“I hope they focus on student achievement,” she said. “I hope they focus on our people. I want my successor to appreciate the people who are here.”
Although she plans to travel with Sam, her husband of more than 40 years, Mims will continue to have a presence within the community, she said.
“I’m going to volunteer and help out kids,” she said. “I’m also going to sleep in late.”
Mims’ retirement date as superintendent is set for Aug. 31.