Hillcrest Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year works to change mindset of learning math

Published 9:00 am Saturday, December 3, 2022

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For Hillcrest Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year Julie Conner, the decision to become a teacher came from wanting to make a difference.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for years,” Conner said. “When my kids got big, I decided to go into teaching because we have a unique opportunity to change kids, their outlook on their future and fill in the gaps for them.”

Conner said becoming a teacher allowed her an opportunity to make a difference in their lives no matter how big or small. 

Upon learning she won the title, Conner said she felt excited and honored.

“In this building, everybody works so hard,” Conner said. “There were a lot of really good choices in the building, but I was honored that they picked me.”

As a third-grade math teacher, Conner said one of the things she tries to do is change her students’ mindset about how to approach math.

“We have so many kids that come in and say, ‘I’m not good at math’ and I try hard to change that mindset,” Conner said. “I believe everybody can do math. They just need to have it shown to them in a way they understand it and practice it.”

Conner said the most fulfilling part of her job is seeing her students become more confident in their math skills. 

“At the end of the year, when I can kind of see that confidence in them — that’s always what makes me the happiest,” Conner said.

When Conner is not in the classroom, she can be found hiking, biking and enjoying the great outdoors with her husband, Tim Connor, and their four children.

“Nutrition is a big hobby of mine,” Conner said. “So, I like to cook home-cooked meals and work out.”

Conner said if she wasn’t teaching, she would have probably gone into nutrition.

In her time at Hillcrest, Conner said the ability to work together with other teachers has impacted her the most.

“This is a phenomenal school,” Conner said. “I would not have survived my first few years teaching if it hadn’t been for the teachers around me helping me. Everybody shares ideas, and things that have worked well