Jill Schulte leads her Leclaire class.EDWARDSVILLE - Jill Schulte is an early childhood teacher who epitomizes what is important in a teacher. She “loves” her craft and each day her kids enter the classroom they bring a smile to her face.

Leclaire School Principal Cornelia Smith said Schulte is a very special early childhood teacher in the Edwardsville School District.

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“She is very gifted at getting them to interact and learn to achieve their goals she has set for them,” Smith said. “I have worked with Jill for a long time and she makes a huge difference with the kids which is amazing to see. She knows how to work with the parents and help them understand what they can do to make their child better in the classroom and at home.”

Schulte said every day is an adventure and challenge, but she couldn’t imagine doing anything else than teaching.

“I am one of the old-school type of teachers,” she said. “I am very routine-oriented and we follow a strict routine and lay out rules that are helpful. We make it clear what their expectations are and we realize each child is his or her own individual person. We try to instill behavior that teachers and moms are looking for. We try to teach the right things to do.”

Much of what Schulte and her assistants do is language-based.

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“We use lots of pictures and visual support,” she said.

Schulte said she has always loved children and babies and teaching early childhood kids is something she knew she wanted to do early on in her life.

“I like the challenges of day-to-day things,” she said.

Schulte received her undergraduate degree at Illinois State and her master’s degree at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

She plans to continue teaching at least a few more years.

“Every year for me is like a first-year teacher starting over,” she said. “Even if it is the same students, it is a whole new experience of how to do things.”

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