How they met
Jennifer and Nick lived in two different states and attended two different high schools - she graduated from North Augusta High School; he graduated from Evans High School. They first met through a formerly popular form of technology: AOL. In 1999, Nick was “obsessed” with the movie, The Blair Witch Project. He would chat about the film with random people through AOL. One day when Nick was online, Jennifer messaged him. The two instantly hit it off.
They chatted online and over the phone for the next few weeks. Then they met at her house and watched The Blair Witch Project before watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. On their first date outside of the house they watched Toy Story 2 in a local theater.
“All movies all the time,” Jennifer said.
In June 2005, they got married not in a movie theater but on a cruise ship. All the family came to the ship docked at Port Canaveral in Florida for the service inside the library/chapel. Eighteen people traveled with them on their honeymoon to the Bahamas.
How their Prep careers began
Jennifer and Nick Mims will start their 10th year at Augusta Prep when the 2022-23 school year begins. While she teaches in the Lower School and he teaches in the Upper School, the Mims family started their respective Prep careers in different departments..
After graduating from college, Jennifer began working in the Richmond County School System, teaching first grade for 10 years at two different schools. After the birth of their son, Luke, Jennifer decided she needed a change.
“I had this realization one day that I did not believe in what I was doing, it wasn't true teaching, and I walked up to the front office with my letter of intent and decided I wasn’t coming back,” she said. At the time, Jennifer and Nick lived in an apartment with their young son, and now she was facing the prospect of being without a job. “It was scary, but I felt so strongly about what I was doing. When I came here, I knew this is what school is supposed to be like. This is where teachers are trusted to create their own curriculum and trusted to teach it however they want to. Children are treated on a case-by-case basis, the whole child. That is what education should be.”
Jennifer found Augusta Prep before Nick, but he got a job at Prep first. He graduated from then-Augusta State University and continued working there in the IT department while finishing up his Master’s degree in English. Nick said the merger of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University led to co-workers leaving and things feeling different. So he started branching out, teaching English part-time at Georgia Military College, teaching learning support at Augusta State and teaching orientation classes. With the teaching experience, he found an opening to his liking at Prep: IT Specialist/Middle School teacher. He started on July 1, 2013.
“I came here and it felt like a tiny college campus,” Nick said. “This looked like a fun place. I felt like I would still be doing what I liked at AU, but it would be more focused here.”
Jennifer joined Nick one month later, beginning her Prep career as the first Director of Extracurricular Programs before shifting to fourth grade after one year.
What they like about Augusta Prep
“You don’t ever feel like an outsider here,” Jennifer said. “That’s one of my favorite things about Prep that has not changed despite all of the changes in leadership in our nine years here. Every person who works here, even if you’re a visitor on campus, makes you feel like you’re here and you’re a part of us now.”
Nick added: “As far as us being a college prep school, I feel like we’re giving students a good experience so when they do leave they’re ready. When I left high school, I had to learn how to study my first year of college, and that is not a fun process to go through. I realized I was never challenged in high school, nothing was expected of me. Everybody here at Prep is learning. Every minute of their day is for learning academics, but they get to follow their hobbies, their interests, while they are learning.
“When you go to college, you’ve got to be able to talk to your advisors, your professors. They’re learning that now. They’re working their way toward that independence.”
More from Jennifer: “I feel honored being part of a team of teachers who are really skilled and gifted at what they do and continue to learn and work together,” Jennifer said. “At a lot of schools, you get a lot of competition between teachers. That’s not the case here. Everyone is here for a common purpose, a common goal, and every child is treated individually.
“As a teacher, I know we truly care about every single student and their well-being. As a parent, I can drop my child off knowing that he is genuinely cared for and loved every day. I’ve never once had to worry about that.”
Nick and Jennifer each added one thing about Prep that makes it special is the focus on each individual child. Jennifer said Lower School teachers put in a lot of time outside of their work day focusing on the academic success and social emotional needs of every single student. In the Upper School, Nick said monthly faculty meetings include discussing students who need help.
“Here’s a student who is struggling and everything stops,” he said. “Everyone puts heads together and a whole plan is put together for one student.”
Shortly after arriving at Augusta Prep, Nick wanted to start a fantasy football league. After Jennifer told Nick to go meet Jamie McAteer, the two became the best of friends and co-commissioners of the Wholesome Tummies Fantasy Football League. The league has been going strong for years and now consists of 12 teams owned by mostly Prep faculty and staff.
Nick: Movies, reading (especially Stephen King novels), listening to podcasts, attending music festivals, video games
Jennifer: Thinking about sleeping, reading non-fiction books, working out, listening to music and memorizing lyrics as quickly as possible like a game!
Jennifer: Kill Bill
Baseball (They’re Atlanta Braves fans), NFL and golf. Nick was named after Jack Nicklaus. The first Masters Tournament Nick attended was in 1992 when Fred Couples won. When Nick and Jennifer started dating, they began attending the Masters together on a regular basis.
Favorite Masters food
Nick: Cold chicken sandwiches, pink lemonade
Jennifer: Barbecue sandwiches, pink lemonade