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The Suburbanite
  • Hartville Elementary's Dills is a 'darling' kindergarten teacher

  • Hartville Elementary kindergarten teacher Melissa Dills attributes to her mother her passion for learning. “From my mother’s love of learning, I realized that I want to pass that on to other students who love school,” Dills said. “I work with the greatest people and the most wonderful age of children. I’m so honored.”

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  • Hartville Elementary kindergarten teacher Melissa Dills attributes to her mother her passion for learning.
    “From my mother’s love of learning, I realized that I want to pass that on to other students who love school,” Dills said. “I work with the greatest people and the most wonderful age of children. I’m so honored.”
    John McAllister, director of instruction at Lake Local Schools, said there are few more challenging jobs than that of a kindergarten teacher.
    “Mrs. Dills makes it seem effortless,” he said. “Each year she quickly engages her students and has the ability to develop lessons that meet the needs of her charges.”
    Name: Melissa Dills
    Home: Edinburg
    Family: Sweet and supportive husband, Audie, and an energetic 2-year old, Elizabeth.
    Credentials: B.S in early childhood education with an emphasis in reading, a minor in French from the University of Akron and a masters in integrating technology into the classroom from Walden University
    Why do you teach? “I teach because I can't imagine being as challenged and as fulfilled doing any other job. I am so blessed to work with the greatest colleagues who support me. I am thankful for teaching in a district that includes administration and parents that highly values community and education.”   
    Teaching philosophy: “Every student can and wants to learn and do well. My job is to help them do that and more.”
    School involvement: Grade level leader for kindergarten for the past two years, Relay for Life captain and participant
    Favorite teaching moment: “Teaching kindergarten is the best because I get to be there when most kids realize they can read. The look on their face when they stretch out an unknown word is priceless.”  
    Evidence of student achievement: “Our district works hard to create common assessments that we administer, compare scores and discuss our teaching strategies. I think my students love using the clickers, iPads and computers in our school.”  
    Role model: “My family. I have been so blessed to have a wonderful immediate and extended family. I live beside 14 families of relatives, many in education. I was influenced by my mom to love to learn. She enrolled me in many classes as a child but most importantly, taught me lessons each day. My father has dyslexia, so I have watched him struggle with reading abilities my entire life. He made me want to help those who find school challenging. He taught me compassion for those who may not like school at first and a willingness to reach each and every student.”
    Best advice ever given: Don’t forget the students in your class are someone’s most prized possession. Treat them that way.
    Page 2 of 2 - Most recent thing learned: “I’m in the process of learning how to potty train a 2-year old. So far I haven’t mastered that.”
    Ambitions: She plans to continue to be a classroom teacher and reach as many students as possible.  
    An a-ha moment that changed her life: “In 2007, my close cousin, Ben Dillon, was killed in Iraq. He was an Army Ranger on his fourth deployment. The outpouring of support and love from the community, army and absolute strangers was amazing. It taught me that the smallest acts of kindness can be so meaningful. I have tried to carry that over into my everyday life. Whether the event is tragic or magic, I try to support and encourage others since I have been so fortunate to have that support from others.”  
    Interests and hobbies: “I love reading, spending time with my family and visiting parks. My sisters and I spend hours together with our children. I love technology both in the classroom and at home.”  
    Favorites
    • Food and restaurant: Roadhouse in Alliance
    • Movie: “Evita”
    • TV show: “Criminal Minds”
    • Music: “There are not many songs I don't like.”
    • Time of year: Spring and summer
    • Color: Blue
    Bucket list: “I want to travel more, work at a library and spend as much quality time as possible with my family.”
    “Dills Darling’s” love creating movies and sharing their ideas with the parents and families. They share what they are doing in the classroom on the classroom Facebook page and blog.
    “Lake is blessed with many outstanding educators, and Mrs. Dills is among our very best,” McAllister said.
    He said Dills’ understanding of curriculum and teaching strategies is unsurpassed, and she consistently and effectively uses digital tools to enhance learning.
    “Mrs. Dills does a great job communicating with parents, making them a vital part of their child’s learning,” McAllister said. “She is perceived as a leader by administration and her colleagues and is instrumental in the refinement of our curriculum process.”

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