Campus social studies teacher runs for public office


Riley Gillum

On-campus social studies teacher Mr. Fredrick Nickens runs for the Democratic county chair for Collin County. Featured is a graphic created by Riley Gillum combined with Nickens’s campaign poster, which is inspired by his campaign of being a new voice for the community. “Local elections and voting are the foundation of our democracy and are often overlooked,” Ms. Bruns, a neighboring social studies teacher, said.

Driving along any of the major roads in the area this past month, onlookers see a diverse assortment of signs with different campaign slogans and “running for democratic/republican office.” These signs detail the politicians running for positions in public office (city council, county, state levels etc.), showcasing the options of representatives that voters have during this election season.

At the intersection of PGA and Preston road, many politicians have put up their campaign posters. Shown below are the posters of Greg Willis, Lee Finley, Frederick Frazier, Pat Fallon, Dr. Matt Rostami, Chris Hill, and more. “If you drive out on these major roads, we can see these big and bright posters trying to grab the attention of the drivers and passengers for a vote or two,” Yasmin said.

One campaign sign to pay close attention to is Rock Hill’s social studies teacher, Frederick Nickens- A new voice for Collin County and running for Democratic County Chair.

“We’ve got great ideas and representation from people in the area, yet all we’re doing is just hurting our future generations by not taking action,” Nickens said. “While we’re here, we should leave the biggest positive mark we can for the next generation and follow through our promises of certain policies that we have a lack of.”

When looking at how much growth Collin County has seen in the past couple of years, there is no doubt that North Texas’ ever-growing population deserves proper representative governance. Unfortunately, according to city officials and Collin County demographic reports, this year’s election is one of the most competitive. However, Nickens has a vision and plan ready.  

“It’s a big melting pot of ideas, and it’s come to a point where everyone just needs to sit down and listen to each other. I strongly believe I am well equipped to make these individual ideas a fabulous idea. The current leadership doesn’t have the capability to do that,” Nickens said.

One of Nicken’s ideas is to create a candidate development plan that stands out from the rest. A candidate development plan, also known as an SES (Senior Executive Service) Federal Candidate Development Program, is a management development plan that helps organize policies and plans to meet the needs of people through election cycles.

“It’s something that we just haven’t prioritized in the area,” Nickens said. “It creates a pipeline of candidates to get ready to run and actually helps enforce a plan.”

Mr. Nickens reflects on how he encourages his students to succeed. He refers to a classroom poster near his door when asked how he wants to set a standard of excellence for his pupils. 

“On my wall, we have this thing called GPS- Goals Plus Planning Equals Success. If you have a goal and have a plan, you can stick to it you will be successful. That’s the one advice I would give any of my students and community,” Nickens said.

Mr. Nickens spends his weekends knocking on doors to get to know the needs of his community and familiarize himself with some of the persistent issues.

“He knocked on this black kids’ door, and when asked if he was going to vote, the kid responded saying that he didn’t want to vote because no one listens to his opinion or his needs,” Junior Yasmin Garada said. “Mr. Nickens told us he plans to go back to that house and keep going back there until he can convince this kid that his opinion matters,” Garada said.

Mr. Nickens’ experiences, such as his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and serving in the Army, have allowed him to work with people from different walks of life. He firmly believes that it is key to success in the political world.

“I am doing this for my kids, my family, students, and my community, and I look forward to implementing such changes,” Nickens said.

Mr. Nickens encourages all students to educate themselves about the political process. He often shares his experiences in class with his students to get insight into how it works from someone running for public office. 

“I urge all my students to learn and explore the political process. They should know how ballots work, how elections happen and get involved in improving our community by looking into some of the local issues themselves,” Nickens said.

It’s important to look locally within your community to create large positive impacts at a national level.

“Local elections, although important, don’t receive the amount of media attention as they should despite being vital to the process,” AP Human Geography teacher Ms. Elise Bruns said. “It’s really exciting to see somebody I personally know being part of the political process because he gets to share with the kids how important it is to be a part of this election and exercise your civic duties,”

If you are a student on campus interested in volunteering and interning with a candidate, look at the Collin County website and local party websites to get involved. You can do many things such as putting up signs, participating in phone banking, knocking on doors to spread the message that a candidate is running for public office.

“I would advise students to take the time to understand the unique challenges your community faces so you can understand where you stand on those issues and make your community a better place,” Bruns said.

More information on local elections will be available as this is a continuous story on Collin County’s representatives. To volunteer for his campaign, you can submit a volunteer form. This form is on his website, or you can contact him personally. Volunteering could help you better understand how policies affect the general population.

“If we come together as a community and put our differences aside, we can accomplish amazing things that benefit us all,” Nickens said. “My community keeps me going. We have so many challenges that haven’t properly been addressed. Our leaders haven’t been committing to provide for our community, and many feel left out or feel like their community doesn’t care. 

Voting is on Feb 12. For more information, please visit Collin County Democratic Party website.

Voting assistance is available at (844-TX-VOTES)