Jackie Vollmer is an intervention specialist at Driscoll Elementary, a position she has held for 12 years. Before her current role, she was a long-term substitute teacher at Magsig Middle School and worked at Driscoll as a paraprofessional for several years. Her passion for working with students with disabilities began early in her life.
“Growing up, my mom was a special education teacher, and I spent a lot of time interacting with her students. I enjoyed helping her students engage in the community,” Jackie recalls. As a high school student, Jackie coached Special Olympics speed skating and worked at various summer camps, assisting children and young adults with disabilities. During her junior and senior years of high school, she was an early childhood education student at Primary Village North (PVN) and spent most of her time in special education classrooms. “I knew as a junior that I wanted to be an intervention specialist in Centerville,” Jackie remembers.
In her role as an intervention specialist, Jackie works to help students reach their fullest potential. That encompasses working with students and families in the areas of social-emotional, communication, academic, medical, and behavioral needs. She collaborates with numerous related service providers and the paraprofessionals in her classroom daily, to ensure that everything is being done to help students succeed. In a typical day, they work on academic, self-help, and life skills.
“My goal as a teacher is to help my students become as independent as possible. My students may be in elementary school, but I am already thinking about and working on the skills they will need as members of the community in the future,” says Jackie.
While Jackie enjoys many aspects of working with students, there is one thing that stands out as her favorite part: “I love when my students have that ‘aha’ moment—when a student has been working on a skill for a long time and suddenly everything clicks,” she says. “In those moments we always stop and celebrate, no matter the size of the victory, big or small. I like the challenge of how to reach students and help them be successful.”
Jackie was born and grew up in Kettering, and says that she was lucky to complete the early childhood education program through Centerville High School. She graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in education. She has also attended University of Dayton and is working on her master’s degree in educational leadership.
Jackie has some advice to future teachers and to those just entering the field of teaching: “Be willing to learn from others, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and continue your own learning. Find your passion in education, but don’t forget to pursue outside interests.”
When asked what she believes the future holds for the profession of teaching and for herself as a teacher, Jackie says, “I believe teaching will continue to play a vital role in children’s lives. We do so much more than just teach academics. We support the whole child and their families. I continually strive to improve my knowledge and skills, and I would love to hold a position helping to coach other intervention specialists in the future.”