Dr. Hill’s time at Decatur


Courtesy of the Hawk

Rowan Wilkins

From tech school math teacher to middle school substitute, Dr. Julia Hill has floated her way through Worcester County Public Schools since the start of her teaching career.

This school year marks Dr. Hill’s second year teaching at Stephen Decatur High School since her September 2020 return. As a technology integration coach, she helps teachers learn how to implement and use new technology in the classroom to improve learning experiences for students, from finding new ways to prepare for tests to making lessons more interesting.

Last year, Decatur teachers transitioned to Apple products. Classrooms are equipped with Apple TVs rather than document cameras, MacBooks instead of laptops, and each student has their own iPad. New technology brought along new struggles, which is where Dr. Hill stepped in to help with growing pains.

“Mr. Sites decided that with all the technology we’re using now, we really need to maximize our use of all of these new resources,” said Hill when discussing how she received her position. “But as the needs change, I would be willing to go back to the classroom.”

Hill’s teaching timeline grows a bit complicated the more one dives into it. After receiving her Master’s degree from Salisbury University and her Bachelor’s from Carson-Newman University, the Decatur alumna started teaching math classes at SDHS in 2001. She maintained that position until her resignation in March of 2007 after having her first child in December of 2006.

“If you take a leave of absence you can’t substitute, and I wanted to substitute,” she said, elaborating on the reasoning behind her resignation.

Through 2009, Hill continued to coach field hockey alongside Mandi Wells, Decatur’s testing coordinator. When substituting at Stephen Decatur Middle School that winter, a colleague mentioned a job opening at Worcester Technical High School that would be a fit for her.

After calling around and communicating with the principal at WTHS, Hill was informed that the school lacked a certified math teacher teaching certain classes. Though it was only part time for the 2010-11 school year, she would teach two class periods there, and return home early.

That following summer, she was offered and accepted a full time position at WTHS.

“I was then back full time, so that was my first ‘real’ year back,” said Hill. “So when people ask me how many years I’ve been teaching, I don’t know what number they want.”

Hill then returned to Decatur for the 2020-21 school year after receiving her Doctorate in educational technology from Boise State University.

This year, Dr. Hill only teaches one class period a day. She teaches foundations of computer science for one period while the rest of her day is spent fulfilling her primary role as a technology integration coach.

Dr. Hill is unsure where the future will lead her as an educator, but says she’s looking forward to finding out.