Interview with WilleJune
Briefly describe your background (where you grew up, family, why you came to work for EDCOE).
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...." well, maybe not that far away, but certainly a long time ago, I began my teaching career right here in El Dorado County at Pioneer Union School District. Teaching has been in my soul for nearly my whole life. Apparently, when I was a little girl I would line up my dolls and impart great lessons to a captive audience. Although my Mom did not complete her formal education, she was a natural in the field, and I learned much from her example. She and my father were determined to provide educational opportunities for my sister and myself that started by fostering a grand love for learning and supporting our endeavors. Both of my parents worked for the Mother Lode Union School District, and in fact I am now teaching in room one on the Charles Brown Campus where my Mother spent years as an Educational Assistant.
After gaining a solid start in my first years of teaching at Pioneer School, acceptance to graduate school for my husband took us to Southern California. As a result of living in the city, I experienced new opportunities for expanding my teaching career. Eventually, we returned to El Dorado County. Only this time, a few more faces defined the Eggert family portrait. As a result of having children, teaching for me took on a different form for a period of time. However, I was ready to return to the classroom when an opportunity was presented by Mike Harris to teach in EDCOE’s Charter program.
What is your department, title, and how long have you worked for EDCOE?
I am currently in my 16th year as an EDCOE teacher at both Charter University Prep (CUPrep) and Charter Connections Academy (CCA).
Describe how your role helps support programs/schools/students directly or indirectly.
As a teacher, it is an honor to invite students into the process of learning and to be a part of creating an atmosphere that motivates and encourages the potential inside them. I truly love the art of teaching, of accessing, and sculpting the learning process in a way that allows all students to achieve those “A-ha” moments that can open new avenues of understanding and forward-thinking. I appreciate the dynamic perspective that adolescents bring to learning, and although my job is to teach, I so enjoy getting to know the individuals sitting in my classes, and the strengths they contribute to my learning process as well.
What do you most appreciate about your department/team?
There is a commonality of dedication to teaching that I observe amongst our staff both in those that have now retired, and those who are new additions. We, as a staff, represent a variety of interests, skill sets, personalities, and expertise. Our schedule at CUPrep and CCA is different from the traditional, and I appreciate the support I receive from the teachers I work alongside in this unique setting.
What is your proudest moment at EDCOE? Why?
I have had many proud moments at EDCOE. However, two specific situations stand out. Both began through interactions with individuals in our broader community. I had contact with two organizations that promote student achievement and introduced those organizations to our charter program. As a result, opportunities were opened for our students to participate in competitions that, at one point were only allowed for the students in traditional schools. A proud moment was in 2013 when one of our 8th graders took 2nd place at the national level through a Fleet Reserve Association writing contest, and since that time, our students have won each year at either the local, regional, or national level. Another was in 2015 when one of our students became a delegate and was sent to represent EDCOE’s CUPrep at Boy’s State through the American Legion. Again, until this time, candidates had only been selected from the traditional high schools. It was a privilege to be a part of the initial contact, groundwork, application process, coaching, encouragement, and support in both of these situations.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, my favorite activity is to enjoy my family. Since our family is now spread out across the nation, I am grateful for face time, family texting, and great deals on Southwest. Our four children, two daughters in law and two granddaughters, are amazing individuals that I treasure, and I am so grateful to journey life with them. My husband and I are busy people, but our home is a refuge that we enjoy tending together. I enjoy cooking, trying new recipes, making jam, and re-creating foods that I have tasted outside our home. It is a challenge and “flavor puzzle” I like to figure out. Taking walks, bike riding, skiing, and reading are also on my list of activities that fill my spare time.
What is something many people may not know about you?
Not everyone may know that this March will mark the eighth trip I have directed to the east coast with our CUPrep students. Every even year since 2006, I have had the privilege to travel with our 8th and 9th graders to Virginia and Washington DC. It is an amazing opportunity, and I am so appreciative of EDCOE’s support and Mike Harris’ vision to allow our students to experience our nation’s history at the actual sights.
Along different lines, people may not know that I have hiked with my family to the top of majestic Half Dome in Yosemite, have enjoyed tea at High Clere Castle (Downton Abbey) with my daughter, and that I play the piano.
If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) and Mary Custis Lee (1807-1873). Two women that led different lives in different time periods and countries. However, both women exhibited extreme courage, faith in God, and determination to meet the challenges life handed her in a way that impacted her culture.
From supervisor, Mike Harris, Principal, Charter University Prep and Charter Connections Academy
WilleJune is the backbone of our Junior High. She has the privilege of teaching every 7th and 8th-grade student in History and gets to know them on a personal level. She reads the pulse of each student and coordinates with the other teachers to make sure no one is falling through the cracks. WilleJune has successfully led and designed eight cross country field trips to Washington, DC, and Virginia. She has designed a program where students experience the history and structure of our government in an authentic way. WilleJune also guides our graduating seniors through a class focusing on transitioning to independent living as an adult; whether that be college or the work world. She guides our students through exercises and experiences to help them build resiliency and confidence as they step away from the life they’ve always known. Whether it be encouragement at the beginning of Junior High, great experiences, or launching students into adulthood, WilleJune is phenomenal and a significant reason our students experience success.