Pickaway County schools will be losing two valuable employees as curriculum directors Jill Riddle and Debbie Younge retire this year.
I've had the privilege of working with Jill and Debbie for many years and am so impressed with the work they do.
The work of curriculum directors is extremely critical to school districts.
They are the ones who are primarily responsible for identifying and implementing new techniques and strategies that are designed to improve opportunities that will increase student learning.
Jill's career in education began in 1978 as a teacher. Before joining Logan Elm Local Schools as the curriculum director in 1991, she spent time as a middle school English teacher, high school English teacher, assistant superintendent, elementary principal and special education director.
Looking back on a 37-year career, Jill said highlights include teaching AP English and American literature at Westfall High School; being a part of continued academic growth at Logan Elm during which the district was able to ultimately earn a rating of Excellent with Distinction; being a part of the district-wide quality management initiative; and being a part of Logan Elm's Balanced Literacy implementation and professional development via the Literacy Collaborative and on-site literacy coordinators.
"But my favorite aspects of education are the opportunities I had every day to see excellent classroom instruction and the interaction between students and teachers," Jill said.
Debbie's career in education started in 1974 when she joined Western Elementary in Chillicothe as a second-grade teacher.
Before serving Westfall Local Schools as curriculum director in 2009, she taught first and second grade, was a Title 1 teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, literacy specialist, curriculum coach for the Literacy Alignment Project and an SST 15 Regional Literacy consultant.
For Debbie, being recognized as the Outstanding English Language Arts Educator by the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts in 2001 was a career highlight.
But through 41 years of working in education, Debbie said her favorite part of being in education is realizing that she has connected with a child.
"I loved being a being a catalyst for change and growth," she said. "It's wonderful seeing the light in a child's eyes when he or she discovers the joy of reading."