Jill Phillips began her journey with the Fayette County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 1986 as the adaptive P.E. teacher for preschool children and teenagers in the previous Sunnyside School building on Fayette Street in Washington C.H. Phillips has decided to retire after serving thousands of Fayette County children and families during her 32 years of service.
In 1992, the teenage students were mainstreamed into the public school system, so Phillips started serving children in the early intervention and preschool programs. During these 32 years, she mentored many teachers and staff, welcoming them as part of the team. During stressful times or life events, she was always there to offer support in any way possible whether it be a gentle hug or just a listening ear. When Phillips noticed someone was having a bad day, she would find ways to make them laugh. Sometimes it meant grabbing a pair of red heels and attempting to walk (anyone who knows Jill knows that she doesn’t wear heels) or putting on dress up clothes and acting silly. She knew what was needed at any point in time.
Everyone at Fayette Progressive School will miss watching Phillips enter a classroom and seeing the children gather around her to find out if it is their day to go with Ms. Jill. The excitement on the faces of the ones selected, and the disappointment on the faces of the ones who had to wait until another day, show that the kiddos at the preschool thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent in her classroom.
With the adjustment of not seeing Phillips daily, there are still reminders of her presence as the kiddos still sing “Marching off to Jill’s room here we go,” and the label above her classroom is still affectionately referred to as Jill’s Room.
When referring to Phillips, staff use these words in reflection. Compassionate, kind, selfless, loving, hard worker, mentor, approachable, generous, fun to be around, organized, dedicated, motivator, a heart of gold, and she loved the children in her care.
As Phillips transitions into the next chapter of her journey, may she always remember the lives she has touched over her 32 years of employment with the FCBDD and know that the love she put into each child and employee will never be forgotten! Jill, may you enjoy this new chapter, spending time with your precious grandson. What an unforgettable legacy you have left with the Fayette County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Fayette Progressive School.