Matilda "Tillie" Hickman
Matilda “Tillie” Hickman was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she attended Lake Charles public schools and McNeese State University. She earned a B.S. in Secondary Education and a M.A. in English and served as editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper for two years.
After marrying Bennie Hickman, she began teaching English and French at Vinton High School. Two years later she accompanied her second lieutenant husband to Germany where she served as President of the Officers’ Wives Club and taught English and government at the Army Education Center.
Tillie, Bennie and baby Robert came to Beaumont for Bennie’s job at Gulf States Utilities (now Entergy). Her first teaching assignment here was journalism and Basic English III at Hebert High School. Later she taught AP English and developed a combination AP English/Journalism course for seniors who wanted to do both but did not have enough time in their schedules.
Another baby and another move to Baton Rouge, allowed Tillie to teach ESL at LSU to students from all over the world. Returning to Beaumont, Tillie began teaching ESL part time at South Park High School where she remained, teaching AP English, journalism, and French until the school transitioned to a middle school in 1986. Her final teaching assignment was at Central Senior High School.
Tillie left the classroom in 1991 to become Beaumont ISD’s secondary English Supervisor. During her time as a supervisor, Beaumont’s writing scores increased by double digits. After serving as a supervisor for 2 ½ years, Tillie became Assistant Principal at Odom Academy. She became Principal in 2000 and continued in that role until her retirement in 2018.
During her time at Odom, Tillie created the Pegasus magnet program for gifted and talented middle school students.
A committed community volunteer, Tillie chaired the Symphony Women’s League fundraiser, Symphony of Trees, chaired the Heritage Society’s Spindletop Boom Days, served on the boards of the Women’s League, Symphony, Heritage Society, YWCA, Junior League of Beaumont, and the Beaumont Art Museum’s Gallery Guild.
Tillie served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented from 1993-2004 moving from Regional Director to President of the state-wide organization that works to support appropriate programming for gifted students. She served as a founding member and President of the Beaumont Children’s Museum, and was named Junior League of Beaumont’s Sustainer of the year in 2009. She continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Symphony of Southeast Texas as Immediate Past President, on the Board of the Edison Museum, the Beaumont Public Schools Foundation, and on the Board of the Tyrrell Historical Library Association.
Matilda "Tillie" Hickman - District 5
1130 22nd Street
Beaumont, TX 77706