RIPLEY - Dwayne Hicks is as passionate about the community of Ripley as anyone. You rarely see him out in town when he isn't wearing some combination of "Ripley Blue."
This will change very soon as Hicks has resigned from his position with Jackson County Schools as an autism specialist and assistant football coach at Ripley High.
"I think the time was right for me to move on. I feel that God provides us with opportunities in our life and it is up to us to make the right decisions," said Hicks.
The 1987 Ripley High graduate has been busy moving his personal belongings to Lincoln County and has been hired by Lincoln County Schools as an LDMI teacher (Learning Disability/Mentally Impaired) and will also serve as the offensive line coach at Lincoln County High School.
While at Ripley High, Hicks served as an autism specialist and also spent part of his day at Ripley Middle School.
"Dwayne made an impact in the lives of children in this county. He loves kids and I saw him grow as an educator and I watched as his students progressed under his guidance. He will be missed in our community," said Ripley High Principal Will Hosaflook.
Ravenswood Vice-Principal Jimmy Frashier saw first hand what type of teacher Hicks was when he (Frashier) was a teacher at Ripley High.
"He was one of the best special education teachers that I ever worked with. Dwayne was a very patient and caring teacher. He handled tough situations very well because he loved the kids and wanted to make a difference in their lives."
Hicks and his girlfriend, who lives in Lincoln County are discussing marriage and moving there seemed like a logical choice.
"I will be moving in with Sandy. Her children are grown and so are mine. She has a small farm with lots of good fishing and hunting. We live about 20 minutes from the nearest grocery store so that will take some getting used to. Ripley is a pretty convenient place to live. I am looking forward to the change and I am very excited," said Hicks.
Hicks spent his college years at Glenville State College where he played football for Lou Nocida and current University of Arizona and former West Virginia University Head Coach Rich Rodriguez.
He has two sons that are recent graduates of Ripley High. David (2012) attends Marshall University and Daryl (2013) will wrestle at Alderson Broaddus College this fall.
Hicks coached both of his boys while at Ripley High.
"That is something that was very special to me. Both of my boys support my decision to move. They just want me to be happy." Hicks will also leave behind his parents, Dennis and Carol Hicks and his brother Daryl.
Page 2 of 2 - "They want the best for me and they support me in my decision but it doesn't make it easy. I have lived across the street from them for many years," said Hicks. "I love my family very much."
"I just have a lot of fond memories in this community. I just want to thank all of the teachers I have worked with over the years and the kids and their parents for all of the support and kindness they have extended to me and to my family," said Hicks.
Hicks wishes Ripley High all the best in their upcoming football season, except for one date in particular.
Lincoln County High will host Ripley High on October 25. "Don't call me asking for inside information on Lincoln County football," said Hicks laughing. "I won't give you anything." Spoken like an educator and coach who cares about his children.