Timothy Mullican has always pulled for the underdog. Throughout his career in education and the criminal justice system, he has naturally gravitated to working with people who have been ignored or even written off by society. He is bringing that mindset and philosophy to his new position as Principal at ABS East.
“Many of our students come to us and don’t trust adults. They feel like they’ve been looked over, passed up, and no one sees them, but when they come to ABS East, they find our staff members who truly see them,” he said. “I see this as a great opportunity for kids. I want them to take that opportunity and be able to utilize it to change the trajectory for the rest of their lives.”
The Baytown native is married to a teacher from Goose Creek ISD and was recently selected to lead ABS East after serving as the assistant principal last year. Acknowledging that the new position is a tad overwhelming, Mullican said part of his plan for this first year is to build on the positive atmosphere at the campus while fostering an environment where staff love coming to work.
Mullican started his professional life in 2012 as a corrections officer after obtaining a degree in Criminal Justice from Lamar University. He transitioned to public education in 2015 after looking at Master’s programs and finding research that indicated a solid educational foundation lowers arrest rates. He decided he wanted to effect change instead of contributing to society’s problems and ultimately obtained his Master’s in Educational Administration from Lamar University in 2021.
Mullican’s educational career started as a paraprofessional working with autistic students in Goose Creek ISD. He soon became certified to teach, and five years later, he started working in a behavioral classroom. He joined HCDE in 2022 as an assistant principal at ABS East.
Dedicated to the success of students with an underlying thread rooted in support for faculty and staff,
Mullican pulls his leadership style from experience as a federal corrections officer at the US Penitentiary in Beaumont. He hopes to create a culture where he can help teachers develop their craft and profession to better support students. He described himself as the quintessential teacher: helping others grow and succeed, be they students or staff.
“I learned this mindset in corrections, where those in leadership roles often rose from lower ranks. So, they knew how to build relationships and saw how this led to success,” Mullican said. “These types of relationships build trust amongst staff, which translates to more student support.”
Mullican said his goal as principal is to support students in returning to their home campus. He wants to ensure they have the appropriate coping skills to maintain their behavior in any situation. He noted that some of the students at ABS East have been passed over, which makes him sad because he believes the world is missing out on incredible students.
“Sometimes we have some kids that have logical reasoning skills that are beyond even me, whereas other students are truly amazing at creating art pieces. They can sing, dance, they have all these skills and talents that people forget about because they forget about the student,” he said. “You must build a relationship with students and support them. Ultimately, that is what will develop when you don’t give up. That’s the key. You can’t give up on any kid.”
To learn more about HCDE Schools, visit hcde-texas.org/special-schools.