Master of Arts in Teaching, 2014
School of Education
July 1, 2014
“UCI gave me such a well-rounded understanding of teaching and education, along with the skills needed to be an excellent teacher.”
Jill Morgan, a UCI credential program graduate who is going to complete her second summer of the UCI MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) program this year, won the Irvine Unified School District’s Middle School Teacher of Promise award.
Jill grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and attended the undergraduate program at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she pledged Delta Delta Delta.
Growing up, she and her sister would play school and plan out their future classrooms.
I wanted to teach middle school and high school students, while my sister Brittany wanted to teach elementary. Our parents were very supportive and provided all the school supplies, even lesson plan books and an overhead projector.
At the University of Alabama, Jill graduated with a degree in Restaurant and Hospitality Management and a minor in Environmental Studies. She was on the Panhellenic Council and served as the president for the Hotel and Restaurant and Convention Association. Each summer she taught cheerleading to middle school and high school cheerleading squads through Universal Cheerleaders Association. She enjoyed being involved with the community and wanted to continue this into her life after school.
Orange County is where I found my first job as Event Manager for a Yacht Charter company. What a change from land-locked Birmingham! After spending some time in the hospitality industry, however, I knew that I was ready to pursue my real passion – teaching science.
After looking into some programs around the area, Jill believes she made the right choice in selecting UCI for the teaching credential program in September 2012. She became a Student Representative and enjoyed serving her classmates in this position.
UCI gave me such a well-rounded understanding of teaching and education, along with the skills needed to be an excellent teacher. The faculty is so wonderful at UCI, I feel very fortunate to learn from such an esteemed group of educators.
As she progressed through the credential program, Jill decided to pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching through UCI, and she secured a job teaching 8th Grade Science at Sierra Vista Middle School in Irvine, where she completed her Student Teaching Assignment.
I was so happy to be working with the same group of people from the previous year. I worked very hard to earn my position at the school. My mentor teacher, Kelsey Stalter, played a huge role in shaping me into the educator that I am and I am so thankful for her.
Jill works with Kelsey as a co-coach for Science Olympiad. In 2014 they took their team to the State Competition, earning 11th place.
Jill was nominated for the Irvine Unified School District Teacher of Promise Award by her colleagues and principal, Lynn Matassarin. IUSD’s website states that this honor annually goes to first- or second-year instructors who go above and beyond while demonstrating professional curiosity and an unbridled enthusiasm for teaching.
A fire drill was called one morning, and I was completely unaware that this fire drill had been pre-planned to surprise me with the award of Middle School Teacher of Promise. Terry Walker, IUSD’s Superintendent of Schools, and Eamonn O’Donovan, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, were among the people in attendance, and they honored me with this award in front of the entire school. My mentor teacher Kelsey Stalter even had my mother on FaceTime so she could catch the memory. Sierra Vista has such a caring atmosphere and we treat each other like family.
Jill was honored with district-level recognition at IUSD’s Annual Teacher of the Year dinner on Friday, May 2nd. She commented,
I will continue to pursue my passion in teaching science. I am interested in getting even more involved with my school in the future and will serve as the ASB advisor for Sierra Vista next year.