When schools suddenly closed in March due to COVID-19, no one expected that the doors would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. It went from days to weeks to an order from the governor that schools remain closed.

Educators had to immediately change over to remote or “virtual” teaching with students and parents being thrown into a world of learning that was new for everyone. It was a trying time for everyone with challenges that had not been faced before. It was an uncertain time as the virus spread in the community.

Superintendent Ann Hopkins, who had only been in the top education position in Banks County for a little over one year, was the calm behind the storm who led the teachers, students and parents through these trying times with leadership, strength and kindness. She has been named the 2020 Newsmaker of the Year.

When asked about the challenges in 2020, Hopkins is quick to give credit to the team that makes up the school system.

“Our faculty and staff have faced more challenges this year than could possibly be imagined, and they have all done a fantastic job,” she said.

Hopkins was named Banks County superintendent in February, 2019, after having served as assistant superintendent for the system since 2014. Prior to that, she had been employed with the school system since 2005 as the federal programs director. She served as an administrator and taught in Hall County before coming to Banks County. She began her teaching career in Jackson County in 1994.

“This has definitely been the most challenging year I have ever faced in my 25-plus years in education, but

I am blessed to work with a group that I consider family,” Hopkins said. “We make decisions together based on the information we have at the time. Many times, we are back tracking to make changes based on the newest data.”

Hopkins grew up in Commerce, where she graduated from Commerce High School in 1990. She is married to Ron Hopkins. They have three children, Tripp, Crew and BellaKayt.

“I am honored to serve in this community as superintendent,” Hopkins says. “I enjoy supporting others and strive to do what is best for all of our students.”


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