Associate Head of School, Principal of Upper School 1982-2010
While working as an English professor and an assistant to the chancellor at UTC, Rickie Pierce was summoned by GPS Headmaster Dr. Nat Hugues to meet him at a nearby Shoney’s restaurant. His plan was to steal Rickie away from UTC and offer her a job at GPS, but she turned him down. After several covert backroom meetings (always at Shoney’s), he convinced her to come to GPS and we are forever grateful for his persistence.
Rickie served as Associate Head of GPS and Principal of Upper School from 1982 until 2010. Upon retirement, she spent two years as the GPS Historian. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chattanooga and a Master of Arts in British and American Literature from Emory University. She also studied education administration at the University of Tennessee.
During her GPS tenure, Rickie initiated a community service program and added a career and financial education focus to the curriculum, but she considers her greatest GPS accomplishment the relationships she developed. Each year she held several meetings with individual faculty/staff members and two one-on-one meetings with each Upper School student, while seeking to affirm each girl and assist her in reaching her potential.
While at GPS, Rickie planned and chaperoned 20 senior trips to Disney World and 22 trips to locations across Europe, collecting souvenir mugs along the way.
She has held leadership positions on countless boards and organizations across Chattanooga and won honors and awards too numerous to mention. Most notably she served as president of the board at Girls, Inc., Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Sister City Association, The Chattanooga Red Cross, and Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute. She is currently on the board of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, among others, and teaches adult Sunday school classes at First Centenary United Methodist Church. She won the 2007 Athena Award from the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Woman of Distinction and Chattanooga’s Distinguished Service Awards in 2010.