Golden Apple: Heather Hillis

Golden Apple Winner Heather Hillis

(Waynesboro, GA)

Heather Hillis has known that this is what she wanted to do since she was in first grade.  She says teaching chose her.

“It wasn’t one of the things that I ever thought going to school that I would pick,” Hills says. “But as I got into teaching and working with kids, I saw a need. And my heart just reached out to those kids.”

Now she puts her heart into every lesson for her special needs pre-k class at Waynesboro Primary School.  Progress is measured by individual accomplishments in here.

“When they’re able to do things that they couldn’t do in the past, when they overcome not being able to blow their nose, now they can blow their nose.  When they couldn’t read and now all of a sudden they’re coming to you and they’re reading chapter books.”

How does Ms. Hillis do it? How does she have what it takes to be such a positive force in these young lives? She says with a lot of prayer and a lot of patience.

“You have to wait and listen and give them time. They have emotions. Even at 4  years old. They’re mad, they’re angry.  And instead of telling them, you can’t be mad, get over it, you validate. Yes, you’re upset. It’s my job to be calm and let them understand that this is okay, but this is how we deal with it.”

Congratulations Heather Hillis, getting her pre-k kids ready for a lifetime of success.

“I want them to turn out to be good citizens,” she says. “ I want them to turn out to be able to contribute to society in a positive way.  That they’re going to want to give back to the community. That they’re going to understand that everybody’s important. And treat people that way.”

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