Teacher, adviser Jill Chittum leaving BV due to change in occupation

Kelly Cordingley, Editor in Chief

After five years as BV’s Newspaper and Yearbook adviser, journalism teacher Jill Chittum faced a difficult decision when she was offered a job as a yearbook representative for Walsworth Publishing Company.
Ultimately, she decided it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“I did an interview on a Thursday and on Friday, the person who will be my manager called to offer me the job,” Chittum said. “I sort of felt unless I did something weird, I’d get the job — I had a good feeling.”
To break the news to her newspaper and yearbook staffs, she called in newspaper students during the last five minutes of seventh hour on Monday, April 23 during Yearbook class. She waited for students to file into room 450 and listened to them mutter questions about the topic of the meeting. She then seated herself in the front of the class and teared up as she broke the news.
“I spent all weekend fretting about how to tell newspaper and yearbook,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone to hear it from someone other than myself. There were tears on my part and some students.”
Chittum said although this is a good step for her and her family, she’ll miss her students and fellow faculty members.
“I love the relationships I’ve made with yearbook and newspaper kids over the years, they work so hard,” she said. “I’ll miss some of the journalism inside jokes, going on convention trips and the late nights. The fun stuff students will remember when they’re older is the stuff I’ll remember.”
Fine Arts Department Chair Mark Mosier said working alongside Chittum has taught him more than he imagined over the years.
“I’ve always been a design freak,” Mosier said. “We shared back and forth design, typography and layout information. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from our professional relationship and she’s a great person — she really is.”
Mosier said when he learned of Chittum’s decision, he had mixed emotions.
“It’s always difficult when you have a colleague as a friend,” he said. “You understand her value and what she does for BV, but as a friend you understand this is good for her and wish her the best.”
Co-editor of the yearbook senior Lauren Reardon said although it is difficult to see someone she’s worked with for four years leave, she is thrilled for Chittum’s opportunity.
“It’ll be like losing a family member,” Reardon said. “It’s like when a child leaves for college, you can still see them and talk to them, but it’s not like having them there with you. I think it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. Sometimes you have to move on to bigger and better things. I know it was a hard decision because she loves BV.”
Yearbook member junior Katie Karst said next year will be more difficult because of the unknown.
“We’ll remember how great she was,” Karst said. “It’ll be hard next year without her, but we are all very happy for her.”
While the journalism position hasn’t been filled yet, Mosier said replacing Chittum isn’t possible.
“I certainly hope the person filling the position will bring strengths, but it doesn’t mean replaced, just filling a void,” he said. “You can’t replace a person and personalities unique to that person.”
Reardon said after building a bond with Chittum, it’ll be difficult to come into the journalism room and not have her there.
“I found my home in the journalism room throughout high school,” she said. “It’ll be weird to come in and not have Mrs. Chittum here. We really appreciate everything, especially her staying late, until 9 or 10 p.m. on deadline nights.”
Karst said Chittum differs from other teachers in the personal connection that is formed over the years in her class.
“Not only was she a good teacher and adviser, she could talk to you on a personal level,” Karst said. “It will be hard for someone to fill her shoes.”
After Chittum leaves BV at the end of the year, Mosier said her impact will remain.
“A school is defined by the people who work and study there,” he said. “Certainly with Mrs. Chittum, it’s a better place.”