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Du Quoin superintendent Hickam heads into final year with District 300

By Renee Trappe
updated: 7/20/2022 11:40 PM

Du Quoin Superintendent Matt Hickam is entering his final year as superintendent. By the end of the 2022-23 school year, Hickam will either be preparing to step up as the Regional Superintendent of Schools for Alexander, Jackson, Perry, Pulaski, Union and counties, or he'll be looking for a job.

Hickam alerted the Du Quoin school board a few months ago that he would be leaving Du Quoin at the end of the 2023 year. Since then, he also decided to throw his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination for regional superintendent. He won the nomination last week as an uncontested candidate in the GOP primary and in November will face the Democratic primary winner Annette Jaynes, a veteran educator in Carbondale Elementary District 95.

Hickam said he decided he wanted only a one-year contract to finish out in Du Quoin. He wants to work closer to his home base in Jackson County.

"Maybe COVID has highlighted for me the need to get my priorities straight," Hickam said. "But I wanted to get closer to home in Murphysboro."

Then he saw that the present regional superintendent, Cheryl Graff, is retiring.

"I talked with some colleagues," he said. "It interests me in that it's a regional position that covers a significant geography. It's the region I grew up in. I never aspired to hold political office, but this makes a good fit."

Hickam rose through the ranks of education, starting out as a substitute teacher, then a classroom aide.

"I kind of worked my way up up the ladder in a natural way," he says, "and I had a lot of supportive people behind me."

If he wins in November, he'll take office on July 1, 2023. Should he lose, he'll be looking for a job in Jackson County.

The regional office is in Murphysboro, with an annex in Anna.

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