Dr. Petrina Hill
“The most rewarding aspect of being a special education provider and leader is the deep satisfaction in seeing individuals with special needs accomplish their goals that many of us take for granted. What continues to motivate me is helping society understand that individuals who have disabilities are no different from those who do not,” says Dr. Petrina D. Hill, Adjunct Professor at Lourdes and Principal for the Pontiac School District.
Instrumental in the establishment of a Lourdes graduate program, Dr. Hill served as an educational consultant to develop the Master of Education in Special Education – Mild to Moderate Intervention Specialist curriculum.
Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Old Dominion University in 1990, it was several years before she decided to pursue graduate education. “When I became pregnant with our third child, I realized that managing a restaurant wasn’t conducive to motherhood. A member of my church at the time encouraged me to apply for a substitute teaching position at a center-based program.” The former southeastern Virginian native was hired full time and thus began a new journey.
Over the next several years, the educator would earn two degrees from Bowling Green State University – a Master of Education in Special Education and Teaching and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration. During her graduate studies, she worked at Toledo Public Schools coordinating work study for students with mild disabilities and revamped the program for two secondary campuses. Then in 2009, she began working for the Pontiac School District in Michigan first as a Special Education Teacher and since 2011, as Principal.
In that role she is responsible for leading a K-5 elementary staff of 50 employees and 400-plus students. On a daily basis, Dr. Hill is charged with monitoring academics, attendance and behaviors to ensure student success. As part of school improvement, she also managed the installation of the MiExcel Blueprint protocols to embed teacher collaborative routines to increase student growth and achievement.
At Lourdes, Dr. Hill teaches graduate education courses including EDU 678 – Foundations of Education and EDU 681 Instructional Intervention for Individuals with Exceptionalities. Enjoying the work at Lourdes, she is open to any new academic leadership opportunities that may arise at the University.
Dedicated to improving the lives of others inside and outside the classroom, Dr. Hill has served as a Coordinator for Special Olympics since 2014. As Principal of a center-based program, she was looking for opportunities for students to participate in extracurricular activities. “I began to volunteer and recruit other volunteers to coach and chaperone our student-athletes and have continued to do so. Our team attended the 2018 US Olympics and won the Silver Medal in basketball and this season, we have three teams who will participate,” she adds proudly.
In her spare time, the successful educational leader enjoys reading John Grisham novels, bargain shopping, putting her own creativity to adult coloring books and spending quality time with her family. Married for 32 years, she and her husband have three adult children – Rikka, Thomas and Jessica, and a granddaughter. The family wouldn’t be complete without their beloved “pack of dogs” – Velvet, a terrier mix; Tarsus, a miniature Aussie Shepherd and Shiloh, a blue Merle.