Get to Know Ms. Jill Walker

According to the blurb on Northwood’s web site, Ms. Jill Walker…

…Northwood’s Dean of Faculty and an instructor in the math and science department, has been at Northwood School since 2004. Prior to arriving at Northwood, she taught at the University of South Carolina and at a private all-girls school in Rochester, N.Y.  Mrs. Walker earned her B.A. in Biology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and her M.S. in Biology at the University of South Carolina. Her teaching duties include biology, human biology and AP Biology. She is married to Jim, a managing editor at a small publishing company, and they live with their dog Roscoe in Lake Placid.

Staff writer Hadley Swedlund ‘20 interviewed Ms. Walker to get to know her better. Here is her report.

JillWalker

Hadley Swedlund ‘20: When you first got here, what was your first impression of Northwood?

Ms. Jill Walker: I had been teaching at the public school in town for a year. During that time, I taught three students whose parents worked at Northwood. At the end of the year, a job opened up at Northwood and the parents got in touch with me to see if I wanted to take it. That was 15 years ago. When I first got to school, I thought the campus was beautiful. I loved the old buildings and the open space. I was big into outdoor sports like rock climbing at that time, so I worked with the students doing non-traditional sports like rock climbing, cross country skiing, water sports, recreational sports, etc. There was a pretty big group of day students who took part in these activities, so it was a lot of fun. Having taught Regents Biology for five years, I was also excited about the flexibility of the curriculum.

 

How has your experience at Northwood been? 

It has been great. I love what I teach and I love the people I work with. I have never had a better and more supportive group of colleagues. I look forward to seeing my students every day. It is the interactions with students and colleagues that make the place special.

 

How has Northwood changed since you got here for the first time?

The make-up of the student body is one of the biggest changes I have seen. I am very excited about the increase in diversity that has happened over the last couple of years. Having students from so many different countries and cultures has made the place so much more interesting and exciting.

The facilities have also improved a good bit – the addition of the academic buildings a few years ago, the opening of the Hub, the [indoor] turf field, etc. have all added to the experience and allowed us more space and equipment to improve our academic and co-curricular offerings. I am such a science geek — I absolutely love what we are doing with courses like robotics and winter Olympic physics. I have attended robotics competitions almost every year – it is one of the highlights of the year for me.

 

Where did your passion for science come from?

I had fantastic science and math teachers in high school. I actually went to college to be a math teacher, but fell in love with the biology program and switched during my Junior year. Teachers who are excited about what they teach can really make a big impression on their students, so I try to do that in my classes. My philosophy of teaching is to get my students excited about learning biology and math. They might not remember the details of any particular topic, but if they have fun and find the content interesting, they will be more likely to pay attention to what is happening in the world around them as they get older. My goal for them is to hear something or read something outside of class and want to learn more about it on their own. If they do this, I have been successful.

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