Interesting People: Tiffany Hickox

Interesting People: Tiffany Hickox

A former J’ette (and Jacksonville native) has coached the Jacksonville High School dance team for the past 14 years. In 2000, Tiffany Hickox was offered the coaching position by her own former coach, Jan Ryan, and has been dedicating her time to helping young dancers develop their skills ever since. With her guidance, the team has won 2 state champions—one in 2004 and one in 2007—that were choreographed by the team and without any hired help.

But before her coaching career began, Hickox attended Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where she studied to become a paralegal. While there, she continued to pursue dance with her sorority. Two years after graduating, she decided to return to college to get her K-9 teaching certificate from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and taught Humanities at Turner Junior High School up until last year—when she put her Master’s Degree (earned in ’07) to use as a Reading Specialist at the same school.

“I was never the top dancer when I was younger, but I could never get enough of it,” Hickox said of her own time as a J’ette. Under Coach Jan Ryan, Hickox’s high school team won seven state championships in the Prop and Pom categories. 

Since Hickox took over the coaching position, she’s had help and guidance from several women including Suzanne Verticchio, Paula Herget, and Jessica Wainman, who supported both her and the team.  “Whether it was parenting, coaching, or life advice, I respected what these women taught me. They helped me become the coach/woman I am today,” she said.

This year, the J’ettes are back up to a larger squad with 25 dancers on the team—doubling in size from last year. Hickox is impressed with the skill level of this year’s dancers as well as their group performance abilities she’s seen this summer at camp. 

When Hickox is not coaching, you’ll find her spending time with her husband Jason and their three children: Riley (10), Lily (6), and Easton (2). Riley keeps them busy with traveling baseball and soccer and Lily pursues her love of dancing at Sara’s Studio of Dance. Easton keeps them busy just being a two-year-old. Together, Tiffany and Jason have worked together to find a balance between work, family, and coaching. 

How has coaching changed for Hickox over the years? She’s learned that being number one comes after making sure the girls are proud of what they’ve achieved on the team. For the team members, it’s more about the experience, growing both mentally and within their abilities, and being part of a long tradition of a successful team. 

As a former J’ette myself who benefitted from Hickox’s coaching, I can tell you this: She knows how to make being a J’ette a fun experience with a competitive spirit. She knows how to push to make you better than you think you can be. She stays out late on school nights to work with a gym full of sweaty girls. She gives her weekends to camps and dance competitions and to the girls and their families who really want to participate. She’s selfless, smart, and encouraging. And most certainly, she’s interesting.

Share This

About the author

Kaleigh Moore, a Jacksonville native, is a freelance Communications professional for Lumen, her business that focuses on quality copywriting and social media consulting. Twitter: @wearelumen Website: Facebook:

View all articles by Kaleigh Moore

1 comment

  1. Victor Cruz

    I recently had the pleasure of reading your article titled “Interesting People: Tiffany Hickox,” and I wanted to express my appreciation for featuring such an inspiring individual. Tiffany Hickox’s journey and accomplishments are truly remarkable, and I found her story to be both uplifting and motivating.

    The article beautifully captured Tiffany’s dedication to her craft and her passion for dance. Her commitment to lifelong learning, her continuous pursuit of excellence, and her ability to overcome obstacles demonstrate her unwavering determination and resilience. It’s evident that Tiffany’s love for dance has been a driving force throughout her life, and it has shaped her into the incredible artist and mentor she is today.

    I was particularly intrigued by Tiffany’s innovative approach to dance education through the use of technology. The incorporation of virtual platforms and online resources to provide accessible and inclusive dance training is both forward-thinking and empowering. It’s wonderful to see how Tiffany is leveraging technology to connect with students from around the world and share her expertise, regardless of geographical limitations.

    Tiffany’s commitment to giving back to the community and fostering a supportive dance environment is truly commendable. Her dedication to mentoring aspiring dancers, offering scholarships, and supporting charitable causes demonstrates her compassionate and generous spirit. By nurturing the next generation of dancers and instilling in them the values of discipline, creativity, and self-expression, she is leaving a lasting impact on the dance community.

    I want to extend my gratitude to The Source for highlighting Tiffany Hickox and sharing her inspiring story. By showcasing individuals like Tiffany, you not only bring attention to their remarkable achievements but also provide a source of inspiration for others who aspire to pursue their passion and make a positive difference in the world.

    Thank you once again for featuring Tiffany Hickox and for providing a platform to celebrate exceptional individuals within our community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *