Veteran Special Education Leader, Dr. Theodore “Chip” Hickman, Announced as New Executive Director at Camelot Education’s Therapeutic Day School of Mount Prospect
Camelot Education’s Therapeutic Day School of Mount Prospect welcomes Dr. Theodore “Chip” Hickman as executive director of the Mount Prospect Therapeutic Day School. Compassion has defined Dr. Hickman’s career in education as he has risen from his start as a special education teacher, to assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and educational consultant for both public and private schools.
Camelot Education Deputy Superintendent Theresa Mortl Smith said Dr. Hickman is joining a very solid program.
“The current leadership team at the school, led by outgoing Executive Director Craig Reveter, has worked tirelessly over the last two years to make programmatic changes and additions to best support our students,” Mortl Smith said. “We are very proud of the positive impact those advances have made under Craig’s leadership, with the support of his team and the devoted staff at the school. As Craig moves on to his new role as Executive Director at Camelot’s Therapeutic Day School of Naperville, we are very excited for Dr. Hickman to bring his expertise to our students.”
Dr. Hickman started his career as a special education teacher and has long been an advocate for children with special needs. He now takes the helm at Camelot’s longest running therapeutic day school in Illinois.
“The opportunity to lead such an accomplished program, that has a passion for serving students with disabilities, is a privilege,” Hickman said.
When he served as a superintendent, Hickman focused on the inclusion of students with disabilities into regular education programming and created opportunities for them to participate in broader community activities. He has spent the past six months becoming acquainted with Camelot’s school design model as the director of instruction at Camelot’s Therapeutic Day School of Belvidere.
“Camelot is a unique organization, because we are so student-centered. We rely on quality, sound therapeutic practices in order to program successfully for each student,” said Hickman. “That makes us stand out as a special education provider. The therapeutic approach is also what attracted me to the organization. Each student who enters the building has a team of people centered on them, willing to do whatever it takes to meet their needs and help them grow.”
Camelot’s Therapeutic Day School of Mount Prospect, which enrolls nearly 100 students from more than 30 school districts, primarily services students who have been diagnosed with autism or have significant social-emotional needs.
Dr. Hickman has dedicated his life to helping individuals with disabilities and those who are less fortunate. He has had the advantage of working with outgoing Executive Director Craig Reveter during his orientation to Camelot.
“Craig is a tremendous leader. He has left big shoes to fill, but he has taken a great deal of ownership in my success, and the building’s success, to ensure a smooth transition and to carry on the legacy that he began,” said Hickman.
Teaching at a Camelot therapeutic day school appeals to a unique kind of mission-driven individual.
“You have to have a servant’s heart to do this work,” Hickman said. “Most of our staff members have a story behind them that attracted them here. Our paraprofessionals are our connective tissue; they really make things work; our teachers are irreplaceable, which is why everyone in our organization is focused on their success along with the students’ success. As much as we have an individualized plan for students, we work to make sure every employee feels like they’re the most important as well. That’s a critical role for me; nurturing a culture where staff is appreciated for the great things they do for children.”
Parents of students at Camelot’s Therapeutic Day School in Mount Prospect will get to meet “Dr. Chip” and hear his vision for helping children with exceptional needs at a special Thanksgiving meal event on Tuesday, November 26 from 11:00-1:00.