Jill Mann, Math Coach at North Canton Elementary School, will do whatever it takes to help students learn math. From incorporating literature into the lesson plan, to using hands-on manipulatives, she goes the extra step to ensure their success.

The 1999 Haywood Community College Associate in Arts graduate became Math Coach at the school as the result of receiving two significant awards recently. Mann was recognized as the 2007 Haywood County Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year by the Council for Teachers of Mathematics and North Canton Elementary’s Teacher of the Year for 2007-2008.

“These awards are a testament of her ability,” says North Canton Principal Joshua Morgan. “She is a total asset to us and now she is able to spread her math knowledge across the school.”

After finishing her degree at HCC, Mann continued her education at Western Carolina University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2001. She will finish requirements for a Master’s degree next year from Appalachian State University in Library Science.

In addition to North Canton, Mann has also taught at Riverbend and Clyde Elementary. But North Canton feels like home to her and has reduced her drive time. She lives in the North Hominy Community with her husband Steve and children Molly and Jody. Her family raises beef cattle and she enjoys camping and going to garage sales.

Mann says she chose to start her higher education at HCC because it is close to home and tuition is much less. “By starting out at HCC, it helped prepare me for a four-year school. The smaller class sizes and one-on-one interaction with instructors got me ready for the larger setting.”    

Mann believes a successful math teacher must build on the foundations of math every day. “Students must see why something works then they will understand it and it sticks with them,” Mann says. “I like to give them something they can touch and feel such as place value blocks.”

Another trick that sticks is incorporating books such as How Big is a Foot?. “After we read that book, we think of all the things that are about the size of a foot and it stays with them.”

One thing Mann loves each year is Teacher Appreciation Week. “When you get cards from middle and high school students, you know you’ve made a difference. I like to think I might have taught them something that no one else has.”

As Math Coach, Mann co-teaches with all the teachers in the entire school. She develops lesson plans, gives kids that need extra help individual or small-group attention, and designs practice tests for the 9-week and 18-week marks.

“Although I miss being in the classroom all the time, I know I am now able to help both students and teachers with this position,” Mann explains. “I love to teach. Whether I am dancing on the table because they get it or I am banging my head on the board because they don’t, I love these kids and I was meant to be a teacher.”