They started together and will now retire together. After 28 years Corbin High School principals John Crawford and Nicole Brock have announced their years as Corbin Redhounds will come to an end on July 31.
Crawford and Brock are both life-long Redhounds, having both graduated from Corbin High School.
After graduating from Corbin, Crawford spent more than a decade working in the media.
Despite his then current occupation, Crawford said that he thinks he always knew in his heart that he wanted to teach. He began taking classes at Union College to pursue a master’s in education. He student taught at Corbin, and when he began teaching at age 35, Crawford said he returned once again to the school he graduated from.
“There is not a more honorable profession than being a teacher,” said Crawford. “I just really enjoy it. I never thought of teaching as a job.”
“I have looked at this as an enjoyable career,” said Crawford. “I have felt really blessed that I have been able to be in this position.”
For 18 years, Crawford taught history courses, such as AP History, US history, political science, and law and justice. He eventually moved up to an assistant principal position, which he served in for three years, before being named head principal in 2014. Crawford said several factors ultimately led to his decision to retire.
“I am 63 years old, and I have been an administrator for ten years,” said Crawford. “I want to travel some, I want to play some more golf, and I have got three grandkids.” “I think it is just time for a change,” said Crawford.
Crawford said the students and people are what he will miss the most after retiring.
“There is nothing like watching kids grow and get better,” said Crawford. “What I am going to miss is being a part of this fabric of our community.”
Crawford continued, “The idea that Corbin High School means a lot to the people here, whether they were grads or not, they are still members of this community.”
He said he is proud of the community within the school.
“At graduation this time, I think we had 28 different colleges that kids got scholarships too,” said Crawford. “That makes me really proud.”
“No longer being a part of that, I feel like is going to make me sad,” said Crawford.
While at Corbin High School, Crawford said his job was to help students.
“My job, and our assistants and teachers, is to find niches for kids and counseling for kids and seeing kids succeed,” said Crawford.
Crawford is well known for his phrase, “It’s a great day to be a Corbin Redhound.”
“I mean that, I really do,” said Crawford. “That is another reason it is going to be hard to leave.”
Having been a life-long Redhound, he said he hopes the legacy he left behind is that his job was all about the kids.
“I hope students, teachers really understood that I cared about the kids first, and I wanted to see kids succeed,” said Crawford. “Every decision – I know it’s a cliché. It’s an absolute cliché – but every decision, and every tough decision and things done in conference with others, I always thought what was best to help this kid. I don’t really know how else I can say that. It was my passion.”
Stepping away from the helm at Corbin High School, Crawford said he feels good about his decision.
“I feel good about it. I think we are going to have excellent leadership in the future, and I am sure the next principal will be a better principal than I,” said Crawford.
Crawford said that he is excited to see a “normal” school year next year when Corbin welcomes back approximately 930 students to the high school.
Like Crawford, Assistant Principal Brock said, “I really feel like it is just time [to retire].”
“I had originally planned to retire at the end of 27 [years], but really felt like with everything that was going on with COVID and uncertainty, I didn’t want our staff to be scrambling to find a replacement. Really, staying an additional year was due to the pandemic,” said Brock.
Brock started in the classroom when she came back to Corbin High School.
She taught math and chemistry for 15 years before being promoted to assistant principal, the position she has served in for 13 years.
“I will terribly miss the students,” said Brock. “Our staff at the high school is second to none. They are a wonderful group of people. They are family. I am going to miss the people.”
Brock said that when she retires, she is sure that she will stay busy.
“I have got a lot of good things coming up. I plan to be in the shoe store with my family, which is Bags and Shoes. That had always been the game plan, is being young enough to enjoy being with my mom, dad, brother and husband working in the shoe store.”
In addition to working at the shoe store, she plans to continue teaching courses for both the University of the Cumberlands and Eastern Kentucky University.
“I have been teaching college classes for quite some time and I am going to increase the number of courses I teach for the Cumberlands and Eastern,” said Brock.
“Giving back to my community in a different way, I feel like I will be even busier after retirement than I have been before because I really do just love working with people,” said Brock.
In retirement, Brock said that she is looking forward to spending time with her family.
“Really getting time to spend with my family [is what I am looking forward to the most],” said Brock. “I have given a lot of time to the high school, which was my job, my purpose, and one of my passions.”
Brock said she is looking forward to spending more time with her 10-year-old daughter and getting involved with her and her schools as well as spending more time with her two oldest children who both live outside of Corbin.
Brock said she hopes the legacy she leaves behind is, “Really, that it is all about the kids.”
“It is all about getting them ready to be strong and transition well without us, but in everything that we do in the day as educators, as adults working with younger people, it is about them about their future. Providing the best opportunity for them to grow and develop their talents,” said Brock.
“We want them to have that support system, and know that they are loved and cared for and know that we did our best by them, so they can do their best.”