by Terry Rogers
When students arrived at Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center for the first day of school last week, it was also the first day that Jodi Messick would not be in a classroom. Although she loved teaching, Messick knew that moving into administration was a natural progression for her.
“Being a school administrator has always been my goal,” Messick said. “As a teacher, I was always interested in helping others through my participation in building and district level committees. I wanted to grow professionally and better myself.”
Messick initially entered teaching because she was always very passionate about it. When she was young, she would collect her teacher’s extra papers and workbooks in order to take them home to play school. While she was in high school, Messick volunteered for Milford Parks and Recreation. Her senior co-op was at Lulu Ross and Morris Early Childhood Center where she observed teacher while assisting in classrooms. These experiences made her realize that teaching was what she wanted to do.
“I loved kids and wanted to make a difference in their lives,” Messick said. “Each year has its own highlights but I would have to say that the connections I have made with the students and families was the most rewarding part of my teaching career overall. The relationship that you build with the families is key in the success of their student. I still keep in touch with many of the families today. They will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Messick believes that the biggest challenge of her teaching career is an ever-changing society that leads to changing needs of students. She feels that each year seems to be more challenging than the last. Messick feels that society is changing and that education must adjust, becoming more aware of what students need when they enter school.
Messick was raised in Lincoln and lives in a home just outside of the town with her husband, John. Their daughter is a freshman at the University of Delaware and their son a sophomore at Milford High School. Messick graduated from Milford High School in 1993, earning a bachelor’s degree from Wesley College and her master’s degree from the University of Delaware. She worked on her administrative certification over the years at Wilmington University.
“My first teaching job was at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School in the Indian River School District,” Messick explained. “After two years there, I transferred to East Millsboro Elementary School where I taught second grade for four years. After the completion of our home in Lincoln, I applied at Morris and was hired to teach first grade. Over the past fourteen years at Morris, I have taught both Kindergarten and first grade. This year marks my fifteenth at Morris.”
As the assistant principal at Morris, Messick hopes to help teachers and students in any way that she can. She considers Morris a magical place and thinks the teachers are “phenomenal.” Messick hopes to help students at Morris love school and, most importantly, to love learning. Since Morris is often the first school experience for most students attending, Messick wants to make them feel as if they are welcome and supported while they are in school.
“My main goal is to continue making Morris the best early childhood center around,” Messick said. “One way we can do that is by continuing to hire the best, most qualified teachers and provide our staff and students with the support they need. Some school goals for us this year include fine motor instruction in all classrooms, increased awareness of social and emotional development of our students and school readiness. Our teacher are committed to meeting the needs of all students, therefore, each year we analyze our school data and determine our focus for the next year. This process has proven us successful and we appreciate the support of everyone involved.”