6709 Pence Road
Charlotte, NC 28215
Courier #: 410
P: 980-343-6464  |  F: 980-343-6517 
Principal: Matthew Bower
LC: Central 1
Bell Schedule: 9:15 AM - 4:15 PM
Grades: PreK-5
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Hickory Grove Heroes

At ​Hickory Grove Elementary School we like to recognize our staff members who are outstanding at what they do.  Each month a staff member is recognized for their dedication and commitment to our students.  They are our Hickory Grove Heroes!   

2018-2019 Hickory Grove Heroes

Berlin.jpgMs. Berlin

Literacy Facilitator

  • Equity: Ms. Berlin works with all  teachers to identify supports for behavioral and academic challenges that arise. 

  • Social and Emotional Health: Ms. Berlin has worked at Hickory Grove for 17 years. There is nobody more connected to our stakeholders.  

  • Academic Excellence: Ms. Berlin works with her teachers to create rigorous and engaging lessons and utilizes a data driven approach.

  • Risk Taking: She is constantly observing teachers, providing feedback and then meeting with teachers to set attainable goals.

  • Relationships: Ms. Berlin is respectful, professional and sensitive to the personal needs of the staff. 

  • Leadership: She shares ideas, implements new strategies and shares ideas for continuous improvement.

  • Teamwork: Her decisions and actions always have the students/school in the forefront. She stands up for kids!

Ms. Wootson

Financial Secretary 


  • Equity: All parents, students and staff that enter our building are greeted with the same level of respect and always a smile.  She makes it a point to greet everyone that walks by her office.

  • Social and Emotional Health: She consistently supports administration and support staff by helping to deescalate students in crisis. She is always willing to take time out of her day to speak with children and reinforce appropriate behaviors.  These conversations are always had in a calm and controlled tone.

  • Relationships: She is a model of professionalism.  Her interactions with both adults and children are consistently respectful.  She will go out of her way to ensure staff has completed the proper documentation to get paid in full and on time.

  • Leadership: She is a leader because she holds herself and others accountable to high expectations.  She is not OK with "exceptions" or errors.  She stays ahead of deadlines and takes on many responsibilities that have nothing to do with being a senior admin (Yet she does them with a smile).

  • Teamwork: She is committed to Hickory Grove and to her teammates.   Whether it is covering the front office, helping teachers get an ID badge or making sure we have all the supplies and instructional materials we need to be our best as educators.


Ms. Bellardini

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Bellardini defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

  • Serving 5 years at Hickory Grove Elementary as a tutor and now as a teacher.
  • Seeing an 11% gain in her pass rate in reading from Q1-Q4.
      • Seeing a 30% gain in her pass rate in math from Q1-Q4.
      • Going above and beyond as team leader to build a strong team culture.
      • Consistently being a positive influence through all interactions with all school stakeholders.

2017-18 Hickory Grove Heroes

Mr. Osborne

School Counselor


Mr. Osborne defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

  • Analyzing academic and behavioral data to drive his support in classrooms.
  • Providing increased support to our students through his leadership with Intervention Team and 504 Plans.
  • Collaborating with all school stakeholders in addition to outside agencies to best support our students/families.
  • Consistently serving as a strong source of support in times of crisis.

Ms. Bonner

Music Teacher


Ms. Bonner defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

          • Goes above and beyond to meet the diverse needs of all of our K-5th grade students.
          • Operates in an extremely positive manner at all times with all school stakeholders.
          • Sparks excitement for the arts among our students.
          • Leads impressive student musical performances that capture the audiences.

Ms. Watson

Pre-K Teacher


Ms. Watson defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

            • Serving as a mentor and team leader to support all students and staff throughout Pre-Kindergarten.
            • Hosting other teachers in her classroom to peer observe in order to strengthen instruction across all classrooms.
            • Teaching her students to lead and take ownership of their learning in the classroom by focusing on social-emotional skills as well as academic skills.
            • Consistently planning and implementing data-driven small groups to meet the instructional goals of all of her students.

Ms. Redmond

Teacher AssistantScreen Shot 2017-12-18 at 11.46.12 AM.png

Ms. Redmond defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:
  • Serves as an exceptional TA to 3-5 math classrooms. Supported 5th grade students and teachers in achieving double digit gains on 2017 EOG.
  • Implements small group, differentiated math lessons aligned to the standards.
  • Exhibits #nosidelines by covering for teachers to allow for peer observations and served as a long-term substitute in a 4th grade math class.
  • Remains consistent in her support and follow through and is always flexible.
  • Volunteers extra time to meet with teachers, discuss plans, student data.

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 7.41.00 AM.png

Ms. Dachiu

4th Grade Math Teacher

Ms. Dachiu defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:
  • Working countless summer hours to adjust lessons and assessments for 4th grade math based on EOG data.

  • Sets and maintains high expectations for all students.
  • Opens her classroom to teachers for peer observations to observe her strong classroom culture and instructional practices.

  • Attending district-wide ILT sessions and providing professional development to HGES staff in regard to academic conversation and writing.

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 7.40.50 AM.png

Ms. Ricono

Curriculum Facilitator

Ms. Ricono defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:
  • Coordinating Lowe's Heroes Project in order to enhance and beautify the school.

  • Increased proficiency in K-2 math by 37% through a focus on coaching.

  • Working to create systems to manage and enhance technology throughout school.


Ms. Carlsen

5th Grade Math Teacher

Ms. Carlsen defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:
  • Making double-digit gains with her 5th grade math students on the 2017 EOG.

  • Creating school swag on display throughout the school.

  • Organizing student technology for the entire school. 

  • Serving as a clinical educator for UNCC student teachers.

  • Volunteering countless summer hours.

2016-17 Hickory Grove Heroes

Donnelly HG Hero 2.jpg Ms. Donnelly
Pre-K Teacher

Ms. Donnelly defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

  • Organizing numerous events for Pre-K students across her team

  • Reflecting on student learning to provide engaging instruction

  • Consistently facilitating peer observing with her team

  • Supporting the onboarding of new teacher assistants​

Irish-HG Hero.jpg

Ms. Irish

Ms. Irish defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

  • Being willing to do whatever it takes to support our staff and students

  • Taking the initiative to find out what she can do to make an even bigger impact

  •  Garnering donations from the community

  • Volunteering an incalculable number of hours for our school

Keigher HG Hero.jpg

Ms. Keigher
Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Keigher defines Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:
  • A strong desire to help other teachers with instruction and classroom management by serving as a mentor to several teachers

  • Creates a nurturing classroom where all students excel

  •  Sets and maintains high expectations for all students

  • Goes above and beyond to form strong relationships with all stakeholders

  • A walking example of the school’s mission and vision of no sidelines!​​

Smith and Flores.jpg

Mr. Johnny

Mr. Johnny define Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

  • Leads the custodial team in keeping our school beautiful

  • Serves with a positive attitude every single day

  • Always willing to help with anything that is needed

  • Consistent source of support for all stakeholders

Sue and Janis.jpg Mrs. Lemon & Mrs. Stewart

Mrs. Lemon and Mrs. Stewart define Hickory Grove Heroism every single day through the following actions:

  • ​Providing superior customer service to all the school stakeholders for over 20 years

  • Serving as role models for their work ethic and service

  • Serving as leaders to build and maintain a strong and positive school culture

  • ​ Providing 110% every single day to support the mission and vision of our school


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website ( www.cms.k12.nc.us ) is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115 . In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education...