Jill Moore named new principal at West Side

By Thomas Wilson
There's a new marshal at West Side Elementary.
Jill Moore has been selected as new principal at West Side earlier this month by Elizabethton City Schools administration.
"Everyone has been so welcoming. It is really more than I expected," said Moore on Monday. She replaces former West Side principal, Rick Wilson, who resigned in late June.
A Cookeville native, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Tennessee Technological University. Moore spent the past four years teaching special education at a middle school in the Shelby County school system outside Memphis. Her husband Jeff is a surgical resident physician at the Johnson City Medical Center.
Her first day on the job was last Monday. Moore and West Side teachers and staff have spent the last week preparing for the upcoming 2003 school year. Sitting in her new office -- mostly bare except for files, paperwork and the remnants of golf-themed wallpaper border -- Moore said her welcome into the school system has been overwhelming.
"It's not just a school feeling," she said of West Side. "It is a community feeling."
Moore said she had gravitated to education since she was a child playing with a toy chalkboard given to her by her mother. For her, teaching represents a passion commonly shared among educational professionals.
"I've always, since I was a young child, wanted to be a teacher," she said. "You have to enjoy being around children and the challenge of children."
Moore didn't go far from home to attend college, opting for Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. She began as a finance major, but switched to education after working with children at a part-time job. She later received a graduate assistantship through the school's college of education to complete her master's degree. She and her husband then journeyed to Memphis where he attended medical school.
Coming from an enormous system with several principals and thousands of students, Moore said moving to a small school system brought her back to the community feeling she enjoyed growing up. She also said education took on a new emphasis when a smaller education system had a personal feeling between teachers, students and parents.
Moore was also excited about moving into the elementary setting, where educators had the opportunity to spend several formative years with their students. While the focus of middle school centered on preparing students for high school, elementary school allowed educators to nurture children as well as teach them, she said.
"I just see this school as a nurturing environment," said Moore. The job isn't the only new thing in Moore's life. She is expecting her first child -- a baby girl -- in November.
ECS interim Director of Schools Richard Culver said last month the system would have a principal selected before the school year began. West Side plans to hold an orientation on Aug. 19 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to give parents and students the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with their school. Elizabethton students return to classrooms for the first full day of school on Aug. 21.
"I can't wait to get in my classrooms and see my teachers teach," said Moore. "That's going to be the highlight of my month."