TCSS leaders remember former board chair Kirk Hancock, who died earlier this week

Published 10:30 am Friday, June 23, 2023

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By: Olivia Johnson

On Monday, former Troup County School Board chairman Kirk Hancock passed away.

In his wake, Hancock leaves a legacy of leadership and fairness toward the education of the children of Troup County.

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Brandon Brooks, current chairman of the board, said he and Hancock became good friends during the 2016 school board election cycle.

“Even after he left the board, we probably talked at least once a month, sometimes more.  He served four years on the school board, and we remained good friends, not only for school system stuff but personal life too,” Brooks said.

Brooks said his favorite memories of Hancock are their first few years together serving on the board.

“We weren’t officially sworn in until January 2017 but my best memories were when we were dealing with really difficult issues. Kirk was so grounded and such a well-rounded gentleman. We bounced ideas off of each other and thoughts. Kirk had so much wisdom on various topics,” Brooks said.

“Kirk was a manager and a good one. We would bounce ideas around in policy and how it would affect students and teachers and the community. It was in those first few years of being on the school board we were trying to make a number of good changes and had to make some difficult decisions.”

He said Hancock was a great friend and will be sorely missed in so many ways beyond his role as a school board member.

Brooks said he will remember Hancock for his ability to lead and bring people together.

“Kirk’s greatest attribute to me was his leadership. Kirk had a way of bringing people alongside him and leading others whether it was in church, on a political topic or with the school system. He had a way to bring people alongside him and his leadership was what I hope people remember,” Brooks said.

“The community doesn’t always know about the difficult elements of making a decision or creating a policy. Kirk had a phenomenal way of simplifying the issue at hand, dealing with it and bringing people alongside. He was a great guy and his leadership was vital in those first few years of being on the school board.”

Superintendent Brian Shumate said Hancock was a class act.

“When I first started looking at this job in the Spring of 2019, I met him during the interviews and I thought how they went about the process to hire a new superintendent,” Shumate said. “Kirk was instrumental in that entire process rather and really portrayed the community and the school district very professionally to offer somebody like me who was across the country looking to come here to work and apply for this job. He was an outstanding leader and a better person.”

Shumate said he will remember Hancock for his level-headedness.

“He was fair to everybody and a great listener. Kirk was fair to all parties involved in whatever decisions were going to be made. He cared about the kids and this community and was a good man overall,” Shumate said.

Fellow board member, Cathy Hunt said she and Hancock first became acquainted when she taught his daughter, Rachel, at Troup High School.

They then ran for school board in 2016, along with Brandon Brooks and Joe Franklin.

“The four of us developed mutually supportive relationships as we had some trial-by-fire moments in the years that followed,” Hunt said. “We all wished he would run again in 2020, but he had different plans for his retirement life.”

Hunt said after Hancock left the board they regularly called, emailed, and texted to check in, congratulate, and offer encouragement, which became especially meaningful when she became board chair after he left.

Like Brooks, Hunt said she’ll remember Hancock for his leadership and love for helping students succeed.

“Kirk was a natural leader and did such a good job. He cared about our school system and invested a lot of time and energy into gathering information and making things happen,” Hunt said. “He was always a gentleman but could be as firm as necessary in tricky situations. I always appreciated the way he would call to ask my opinion about something or give me a pep talk when I needed one.”

She said Hancock was always devoted to his family, friends and community.

“He was a man of integrity and faith and had a spirit of adventure. I’m stunned by the loss of this wonderful man who had so much more to give and so much more living to do. It’s a reminder to not take a single day for granted. He will be sorely missed,” Hunt said.