Veteran Kentwood teacher: “They always know that they’re loved”

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KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A teacher nearing 30 years with Kentwood Public Schools proves a lifelong career in education leaves a lasting impact on students. 

“I’m all about wanting these kids to see their successes,” second grade teacher Julie Brill told 24 Hour News 8. “I want them to feel good about how far they’ve come. Whether it be academically, socially, just look at where you were (at the beginning of the year) and look at where you are (now).”

Mike Higgs nominated Brill for a 24 Hour News 8 feature showcasing dedicated teachers in West Michigan. The best part: he remembers her more than two decades after sitting in her Meadowlawn Elementary classroom. 

“We call ourselves the Brill’s Busy Bees and this is our hive. And I’m the queen bee, of course. They’re (the students are) my little worker bees… and I tell them once a Brill Busy Bee, always a Brill Busy Bee,” explained Brill. “I get invited to open houses and I get invited to weddings and they come back and visit me.” 

Brill said she can be tough on her 7- and 8-year-olds, but it’s rewarding knowing the environment she creates leaves a positive memory for her students.

“Truly the most rewarding thing is having kids come back to me and knowing that they remember me in a positive way. They remember how they felt in here,” she said.

That feeling is something that extends beyond the students who sit in her class.

“Her classroom is always so warm and welcoming, inviting, very calm,” said Meadowloawn Principal Tim Hargis. “It’s a great place to be. I sometimes like to go to Julie’s classroom, have my own own little few minutes during the day of just feeling, ‘Ahhh, I’m here with Mrs. Brill.”

You can get a glimpse inside Brill’s classroom by watching the video above.

If you know of a teacher who has dedicated their career to West Michigan students, please nominate her or him by emailing Lynsey.Mukomel@woodtv.com.

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