Adrienne Joy Hill Empowers Students to Find their Niche

The MRA Board welcomes members who have volunteered for various open positions this year. In this series of blog posts, we provide short interviews from some of these literacy educators.

Adrienne Joy Hill

Adrienne Hill began her career teaching middle and high school English in the Romulus Community School District. After 10 years, Adrienne moved to Wayne RESA as Educational Improvement Consultant. After 5 years in this position Adrienne accepted a position as Director of Curriculum Instruction and Accountability for the Westwood Community School District

Adrienne received her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. her Master’s degree in Education Leadership from Concordia University and is an Educational Leadership and Policy Doctoral Candidate at Wayne State University. Adrienne is months away from defending her dissertation on Restorative Practices and teacher efficacy in an effort to improve professional development and school cultures for teachers. 

What was your childhood like?

My parents did everything they could to make sure we had a wonderful childhood. I spent my elementary school years in Inkster, Michigan. We had a huge backyard so the summers were spent playing with friends and in the winter we built snowmen and ice skated on an outdoor rink my dad made for us. My parents also made sure we traveled and spent time with extended family.  We moved to Wayne, Michigan in my middle school years whereupon I spent lots of adventurous times outside with new friends.

Name some of your favorite books while growing up.

I fell in love with classic fairy tales and the long/full Mother goose nursery rhymes through books at my maternal grandmother’s house. She would read them to me in her British accent. There was something magical about that.  

The Beatrix Potter series was a favorite of mine too. Those little hard cover books with mischievous animals in interesting cupboards and gardens were so interesting to me.

My paternal grandmother had this book, The House that Had Enough that  still gets a laugh out of me.  As I grew older I remember wanting to read every single book in  Babysitters Club Book, Sweet Valley High and 18 Pine Street series.

You chose education as a career. Which people or events most influenced you to choose teaching?  

My parents had the most substantial influence on me to choose teaching. My mother Dr. Sue Carnell , the Chief of Staff to State Superintendent Dr. Micheal Rice and my father Craig Carnell, a Retired Fire Chief worked very hard to ensure that I had choices and supported and encouraged me to be anything or do anything I wanted.  

It is truly a wonderful experience to be supported, encouraged and empowered to find your niche, your voice, your place in this world. Everyone deserves that.  It’s powerful and I am in this profession to make sure all kids, no matter their circumstances, have that experience as well.

What are some of your more memorable teaching experiences?

I have been out of the classroom for almost 13 years now so the memories that are staying with me are more like chapters instead of specific events.

 I can tell you what I miss about the classroom… I miss the laughter, the unexpected joke or silly thing a kid would say. I miss the connection, watching them grow, listening to them read, reading their journals, that moment when their eyes would light up when they finally “got it.” Teaching was fun, there are days where I miss it.

How did you find the Michigan Reading Association?

Because I taught Middle and High school ELA , I have always had a relationship with MRA.  My time at Wayne RESA as an Educational Improvement Consultant intensive  this relationship as I had the opportunity to spend more time understanding what the organization was really about. Past President Carol Paul was instrumental in highlighting the work of MRA at the time.   This new role as Board Member is truly an honor.

You are the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability for Westwood Community Schools. Are your responsibilities as weighty as they sound in this busy and diverse Dearborn school district?

Yes! There is a lot that flows through my office, everything from State and Federal programs, Assessments, K-12 Curriculum, Professional Development, Educational Technology to English Learner Support. I have an amazing team, they are very supportive and I know I could not do any of this work without them.

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