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Throughout the year, Teacher in the Spotlight will shine the light on teachers and staff who do exceptional things
for our students and go above and beyond each and every day.


The spotlight is on Jill Harrold!


Ask Jill Harrold’s second-grade students at Emma C. Chase Elementary School why they love their teacher and all of their hands will shoot up at once in a flurry of waving fingers.
Jill Harrold poses with her class
“I love the Treasure Box!”

“She’s kindful (sic).”

“She’s really nice to us.”

“She does fun things in class.”

“I like how she helps us with math. She goes into a lot of detail to explain it.”

Jill, a former Monticello Central School District student-turned-teacher, balances academics with creative exercises in order to inspire her students to become self-thinkers and enjoy school.

“Students are human, and they need to have a bit of fun,” Jill said. “They need to feel safe, appreciated and respected while they’re at school. You have to learn what they like to connect with them. Some like computers;others like art. Some love recess; others like legos.”

Some of those creative exercises take the form of arts and crafts and creative writing assignments. Other times, they coincide with the season. The class recently learned about immigration through a cultural feast around Thanksgiving time. Students brought in a different food from their countries of origin.

“The most striking aspect of Mrs. Harrold’s instruction is that she keeps her students very busy all of the time,” Chase Elementary School Principal Bill Frandino said. “Transitions from one activity to the next are seamless, students learn the classroom habits, and every minute of the day has a purpose.”

Jill’s methodology of teaching echoes the district’s larger goal of creating “life-ready” students. Each morning begins with a meeting in which students gather to review the day, read a story and say “good morning” to one another.

“You have to model kindness,” Jill said. “Students have to learn how to be polite and communicate to be good citizens. Teaching them how to look at one another and say ‘good morning’ sets the foundation for a productive and positive day.”

As a teacher for 21 years, 11 of which have been with the Monticello school district, Jill has touched the lives of many students.

“There was one student that I had in my fourth-grade class years ago,” said Jill. “I wasn’t sure that I was connecting with him at all. Then, on the last day of school, he brought me a bouquet of flowers and a card that said ‘You’re the best teacher ever.’ It made me realize that sometimes you really don’t know the impact that you have on people.”

Congratulations, Jill!


We applaud you for being greater than the average!