Exit Interview: Ms. Andrea Kilbourne-Hill

AKH

Ms. Andrea Kilbourne-Hill ’98

This article is part of a series of interviews of departing faculty conducted by Aude Marie Ackebo ‘ 18.

When did you start working at Northwood and how long have you been here for?

I started in the Fall of 2008 so I have been here for eight years.

What different jobs have you done/ classes have you taught?

I started as the hockey coach and admissions. Then I worked in study skills, algebra 2, added college guidance. For the bulk of my time, I have coached hockey, as well as, worked in admissions and college guidance.

Why did you decide to leave your Northwood job?

The balance of my personal-family life and work life was getting too skewed. While I love hockey, I was ready for hockey to move away from my primary focus. In a perfect world, if there was a perfect balance when working at a place like Northwood, I would stay but I’m not sure if I want to be a hockey coach in ten years. Basically, the combination of all these things are the reason why I am leaving.

Do you have a best story/fondest memory/funniest happening that you could tell?

I would say the time when the girls did the senior prank and left the shopping cart in my office was funny. That was last year I believe. Some of our road trips left great memories behind. Three or four years ago, someone would do a toast at every team meal. One time, we were in Syracuse and every single person made a toast. Even Bridget Sullivan’s brother who was really shy made one. That was a great memory; to see people get out of their comfort zone and be a family. Our captain, Eva Marquez, gave the first toast that night and created a great memory for all of us. I have a lot of great memories with my colleagues, the other faculty members. We always bike or run at the end of the year together and that’s always fun. We’ve done team bonding with each other and I know I am going to miss them.

Did you have a favorite year? Favorite part, class or team?

The team I was talking about earlier that gave the toasts was probably my favorite. Part of why we were so good together is because we had so many tragedies bringing us together that year. Eva’s dad died that summer, Grace Durham’s mom also passed away right before school started. The combination of those things brought everyone together. We have talked about gratitude this year but that year, we really felt it.

What did your years here teach you?

A lot. Mellor always says “ If you see every problem as a nail then your only tool is a hammer.” When working with kids, that is definitely a great mantra to have. Not every problem can be fixed by bangigng it out; sometimes you have to be a little more finesse with helping a kid find his way.  I will always remember that. Something else I have learned is patience with the process because I have seen many kids come in as punky freshmen or sophomores who don’t get it and turn out to be great kids so you’ve just got to be patient with them because they are going to grow at their own pace.  They’ll eventually get it. I have also developed a tougher skin because this job is all encompassing and I am a softy even though I don’t appear to be one. My feelings obviously get hurt too so in the recruiting world, the first time someone said no, they are not coming to you, it hurts. You feel bad like you just got broken up with or something because you  thought you were having a great relationship and they were coming but they choose not to. It could be really tough to take all these things personally.

What are your future plans? Where are you going?

I don’t really know where I see myself in a few years, which is really exciting. I’m still going to be in Saranac lake, I’m going to take some time off completely. I might sub at the local elementary schools because that’s my real passion in terms of education. I will do that for a little, then see if I want to get back in the classroom right away or want to go into a different part of education. I might try to get some action faculty work, see if I like the college realm and play around with what feels right for me, for the next step. I’m lucky that I don’t have to rush into it because we have a nice and comfortable life right now. I won’t have to take the first thing that comes so I will go slow and pick carefully.

Coach:

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Kira Collins ’17 (left) with Coach Kilbourne-Hill

During my first year of hockey here there was one phrase you always seemed to yell during our games; “IT’S IN!” and every time you yelled it I got all excited thinking the puck was actually in the net, but in reality, the puck was nowhere near it. I finally started to realize that the puck was never in the net when you yelled “IT’S IN!”. Even though this yelling usually amounted to nothing goal wise, it was important to me. Your yelling showed me a competitiveness I aspired to have and a determination to compete.

Throughout my two short years knowing you, I was enthralled by your character on and off the ice. You always put the team first and was dedicated to improving our skills on and off the ice. Even though you won’t be with us next year, your contributions and love for the game will never be forgotten!

Kira Collins ’17

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