Teachers’ daughter follows in their footsteps

Cindy, Gary and Tomya Hancock

Sherry Kughn

If anyone knows how a child of a teacher feels, it’s Tomya Hancock. She grew up in a home where both parents taught. Thomas O and Martha (Johnson) Wilson, worked at Saks Elementary. Her mother was the librarian, and her father taught sixth grade English. She has lots of empathy for such children, because she knows it can be difficult.

Her father taught her in the sixth grade. He retired the year after that.

“Everybody always loved Mr. Wilson,” she said.

Tomya is a Jacksonville High School and Jacksonville State University graduate. She received her bachelor’s in elementary and early childhood education and a master’s in elementary education from JSU. She has an education specialist degree from the University of Alabama.

Tomya took part in the co-op program at JHS and worked at Parker Hannifin during her senior year of high school and through college. She expresses her appreciation to her JHS accounting teacher, Judy Douthit, for her job at Parker Hannifin. That would not have happened, she said, had it not been for her influence and input.

Tomya was employed with the Calhoun County School System during the first three years she taught. She’s been at Jacksonville Christian Academy for the past 23 years. She taught first grade for six years. She has been assistant principal for 17 years and teaches English half a day.

She never dreamed she’d be at JCA as long as she has. The longer she teaches, she said, the more she appreciates not only the students, but the faculty with whom she works.

“I always felt that education was the job God had for me,” she said.

She and her husband, Gary, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on Labor Day. They have three children. Sidney, 17, is a junior at JCA. Danielle has two daughters, Madison and Abigail. Chad has followed in his father’s footsteps and owns his own business, Hancock Home Improvements. He has two sons, Jaxon and Colton.

Tomya and Gary are members of the First Baptist Church. They taught a fifth grade Sunday school class for 15 years, but had to give it up when her mother’s health began to decline. Tomya likes to read and prefers Christian fiction authors. Her favorite is Karen Kingsbury. She also likes spending time with her family at Weiss Lake in Cherokee County.

Her sister, Wendy Birch, lives in Northport, Fla., Cindy and her family spent five days with the Hancocks when hurricane Irma hit. They live about an hour from where the eye was. They found minimal damage to their home when they returned. Cindy told Tomya that “the prayers worked.”

When the sisters were younger, they watched their mother cook. The thing was though, that their mother didn’t use recipes. Most of the time Tomya uses recipes, but she’s also been known to use whatever ingredients she has in her pantry.

Contact Margaret at



1lb. Hamburger

1 diced onion

Garlic pepper

½ box penne pasta

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 block cream cheese

8 oz. shredded Italian cheese

   Cook hamburger with onion and garlic pepper. Season to taste. Drain meat. Cook pasta until tender. Add cream cheese and spaghetti sauce to meat mixture. Cook until cream cheese is blended. Add pasta. Heat thoroughly. Add shredded cheese to top.


1 lb. sausage

¼ cup ranch dressing

16 oz. shredded Pepper Jack cheese

1 package wontons

Mini muffin tin

   Scramble sausage until done. Drain. Add ranch dressing and cheese. Place one teaspoon of sausage mix into each wonton paper. Place in ungreased muffin tin. Cook on 425 for 10 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.



18 oz. refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ cup sugar

1 egg

½ tsp. vanilla extract

   Spread a little more than half of the cookie dough onto the bottom of a 9x13 Pyrex dish. Press down making an even layer. Beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the uncooked cookie dough. Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes on 350 degrees.



1 lb. hamburger

1 diced onion

Garlic pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup

8 oz. sour cream

16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

1 lb. bag tater tots

   Cook hamburger meat with onion and garlic pepper. Season to taste. Drain. Add one can cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Spread meat mixture into bottom of 9x11 baking dish.

Layer with shredded cheese. Place tater tots on top of cheese in rows. Cook on 425 for 45 minutes or until tater tots are crunchy.