Kim Hillard is the busy mother of five kids aged 3-11. She and her husband, Clint, have been happily married for 12+ years. They live in Bloomington, IL where their children attend public school and they are involved in Clear View Church where they both serve as leaders in the children's ministry. Kim is also invoved in the PTO of her children's schools and can be found around town at parks, storytimes and coffee shops. She has homeschooled her children for their pre-school years and cherishes having the opportunity to spend so much time with her children and family. They all attend public school starting in kindergarten.
Kim grew up outside of Champaign, IL and attended Mahomet-Seymour High School. She then attended Parkland College where she received her associate's degree. During both high school and her time at Parkland, Kim babysat for many families, worked at the Mahomet IGA, volunteered and worked at the Mahomet Boys and Girls Club (now the Mahomet Area Youth Club), tutored Spanish and taught Spanish I and II to a group of home-schooled high school students. She also was a lead teacher in the 4-5 year old classroom at her church throughout both high school and while at Parkland. Most of those jobs and volunteering opportunities were concurrent with her schooling.
Upon graduating from Parkland, Kim was accepted to Illinois State University where "gladly we learn and teach" is the motto. She started as a double major in both elementary and special education, but decided her true calling was special education, not el ed. While at ISU, Kim worked at two day care centers teaching Spanish in the mornings, and at one as the lead teacher in the 2 year old room in the afternoon. She also worked at Macy's for 6 months and was a server at a local restaurant. Babysitting was still a part of her life as well.
During her Junior Practicum experience, she was placed in two low-income schools in Peoria. It was in the elementary placement in a classroom with students with behavior disorders that she found her heart being drawn more to this population. When it was time to student-teach, Kim returned home to her parents' in Mahomet and student-taught in Urbana and Monticello. The placement in Urbana was at CIRCLE Academy, a day therapy program for students with behavior disorders and a part of Cunningham Children's Home. When she walked in the first time, it really felt like home. She was treated as a fellow teacher by all the staff and her students didn't realize she was only a student teacher until it was time for her to switch placements. This truly was a special place for Kim.
The second part of her student-teaching was in a learning-disability classroom at Monticello High school. While Kim enjoyed her time there and loved her students, in comparision with the fast-paced, exciting days of CIRCLE Academy, it felt boring. Yet more confirmation that the students with behavior disorders was her calling.
On graduation night, Kim was proposed to by her now husband, and they were married the following summer. Kim also interviewed for 2 jobs in the area and was offered a position at St. Joseph-Ogden and CIRCLE Academy. As CIRCLE was such a draw for her, she accepted and started there in January teaching a new classrom of high school students.
Kim taught at CIRCLE for 2.5 years before she decided to stay home with her two children. It was hard to say goodbye, and the whole school, staff and students hold a special place in her heart as she thinks of and prays for them often.
After staying home for one year, Kim received a call from her high school asking if she would be interested in a possible position that didn't yet exist teaching part time. Securing her mom as a childcare provider for the 2 and 1 year old during their nap time, she accepted. She co-taught 2 sections of earth science with a resource study hall in between. It was a great balance for both being a mom and working.
Kim and Clint's third child arrived that June and Kim decided to "retire" from teaching to focus fully on her growing family.
The family moved from their country home to the big city of Bloomington in March. Finding their church community and friends helped to establish the city as home. Kim has been involved in the school her kids attend, her church and has taught fitness classes. She also added two more members to the family since moving to Bloomington.
Starting this new business venture of Education Champion in the fall of 2014, Kim is working hard to put her education, experience and expertise to work for her family and her client's families.
Philosophy of Education Champion
Kim believes that all learning should be student-centered. Working with the schools and families to attain appropriate services, interventions and accomodations is key. Working from a place of ability as opposed to disability while focusing on the child's strengths is imperative. Using strong communication skills and a knowledge of education, special education law and best practices enable EC to see positive gains in families lives. Education Champion seeks to empower families to advocate for their child, to advocate for families where necessary and to empower students to acheive all they can academically. Services are personalized to meet the needs of each family with whom I have the pleasure of serving.