LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jillian Colby

Position: Head of School
School: Mount Royal Academy North
School District: Mount Royal Academy
City, State: Lancaster, NH

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Jill Colby was nominated by her friend, Angela Pedley.

Ms. Colby has always wanted to be a teacher. In high school, she shadowed a kindergarten teacher in the mornings for experience. In college, she earned her degree in education and was exposed to more field work in the classroom. She her first teaching job right after graduation, and after taking some time off to start a family of her own, she started thinking about the fact that there wasn't a Catholic school available in the community.

Ms. Colby wanted to bring something new to the area, so she started the process with her lifelong friend, Mandy Scott. Ms. Colby was put in touch with the Headmaster at Mount Royal Academy, who would soon become her mentor and colleague for the new journey. After months of research and planning, as well as a few events to start fundraising, it all started to become a reality. In the fall of 2018, class was in session for Mount Royal Academy North, the sister school of Mount Royal Academy. The school has since successfully finished its first school year.

Ms. Colby has worked tirelessly to make sure the school got off to a phenomenal start by engaging the community, friends, family, and beyond through fundraisers, open houses, church events, and much more. The support that the community has given in return to her endeavor shows how much they trust and believe in her. They want to see the entire school succeed, and succeed it has!

After its first year, MRA North has plans to grow even more. The school is already making a difference in the lives of the children that attend, and it will continue to do so for years to come. The community needed this school for its ever-growing youth population. Without Ms. Colby putting the original idea into motion, there’s no telling when or if this would have ever of happened.

As Head of School, Ms. Colby has made sure that not only the curriculum gets followed, but that the children enjoy field trips, music, art, and all other areas of enrichment that young minds need to grow and succeed. She is a natural with children and is fueled by watching the students learn and grow with the information and support being shared with them. Ms. Colby is professional and dependable in her leadership role, all while maintaining a soft and nurturing demeanor that all the children love and know her by. She is humble and has given more of herself to this school and every student and teacher within its walls than anyone can imagine.

Ms. Colby is continually looking for ways to grow the school, build the community involvement, keep the children engaged, and to give back any way she can.  Being a teacher is hard work, that is no secret. Building a school from the ground up takes it to a whole new level. Literally, they poured the cement foundation that the school building was set upon!

"I have been friends with Jill for 20+ years, and to say I’m proud of her just doesn’t seem like enough. She is a LifeChanger for MRA North, the community and church," said Pedley. "So many others can look to her and see a true example of putting dreams into action. The students at MRA North are witness to her hard work paying off, and that is a lesson that they will hopefully carry with them for the rest of their lives."

Comments (3)

Amy Blanco Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of meeting Jill for the first time when I was asked to be a substitute for one of the classes this past year. I can’t begin to tell you what an amazing experience it was to see how well run this school is. Not only did I feel welcome, I was in awe of how the children react to Jill. She’s such a positive role model in these young people’s lives. Her kind heart shines through in her everyday actions. There truly aren’t enough wonderful adjectives to describe her.

Mandy Scott Posted over a year ago

It has been an absolute joy and honor to be part of the miraculous journey of Jill Colby. Her thousands and thousands of volunteer hours for the beautiful mission of Catholic Education is extraordinary. As a teacher in her school, Mount Royal Academy North, a parent, and a friend I've been able to watch an incredible transformation of Jill. What started as a simple thought has become a thriving private school in a small rural community. Jill's ability to create new relationships and foster existing ones is a strength of hers. Her kind and understanding tone is approachable with both students and families. She's always willing to learn and ask questions. Her work in a mission for the young people of northern NH. Her supportive family has been a large blessing in the unpredictable and beautiful journey. Jill has brought God's grace, truth, and love to our small school each and every day. She's a blessing for so many of us, and her impact is one that can't be replicated. She's a true gift!

Derek Tremblay Posted over a year ago

You are an incredible person. Here is what you likely already read: "I first interacted with Jill while a team of parents visited Mount Royal Academy to investigate and discern the best sequence for opening a new Catholic school in the north country of New Hampshire. The mere fact that Jill and her associates are courageous enough to start a new private school speaks to her confidence and capabilities as a school leader. Since that first visit, Jill and I have been in constant communication, and her innovative ideas and tenacious work ethic are very evident. Jill is an experienced educator, as demonstrated by her resume. But it isn’t often that an educator has the right ‘heart set’. Her heart is really set in the right place, because there really isn’t a rational reason to embark on the adventure of leading a Catholic school. I am confident she simply wants to bring more children to Jesus. And although this observation is more from a distance, I am beginning to sense that Jill knows how to bring people together. Collaborative leadership and vision are of course critical tools for leadership, and Jill has a keen sense of managing relationships with various stakeholders to ensure the success of the mission."