Superintendent Hamil passes on his thrill of learning to generations of Tamaroa students
Tamaroa Grade School District 5 has a special place in superintendent/principal Phil Hamil’s heart.
“I have spent my entire educational career in the district,” Hamil told SW Illinois News. “I have reached the point where former students now have their children enrolled in our school and the deep-rooted relationships with parents and students are an extremely fulfilling part of the position.”
Hamil said the district has a tremendously dedicated faculty and staff.
“I see miraculous tasks performed by our staff every day, many of which occur without being noticed,” he said. “I always ask new students how they are enjoying Tamaroa Grade School after a few days of attendance, and all of them remark on how nice and caring everyone is. It is a school culture that we like to cultivate.”
Hamil is currently in his 18th year at Tamaroa Grade School. He was a classroom teacher for 15 years and was then hired as a superintendent and principal in 2016.
“My favorite thing about my job is and will probably always be the kids,” Hamil said. “As a classroom teacher I enjoyed being with them and now as an administrator, I cherish the chances to interact with them in the hallways and classrooms. They have all of the best qualities of being creative, inquisitive and very real.”
Hamil’s main goal working for Tamaroa Grade School is finding the best way to use district resources to maximize learning for students.
“I firmly believe that one of the many things that makes our nation great is our ability to provide a free public education for all children,” he said. “A great education provides the opportunity for every child to discover their strengths and passions and creates the potential for a happier and more successful life. If we approach education with this in mind, it shows us that we have a very important commitment to our children and to our own future. Specifically, for the district, my primary goals are to provide the best education for our students while maintaining fiduciary responsibility and to align the programs, personnel and resources necessary to increase student performance.”
Hamil also believes that there has to a partnership between the home and school, and how promoting education in the home would be a rich and rewarding experience for both children and parents.
“One of my goals is to have families understand the interconnectedness of learning and everyday life,” he said. “It is the trip to the park or grocery store and the discussion after reading an article or watching an educational video on Youtube that can bring families and education together.”
Hamil was born and raised in rural Ashley. He holds a bachelor of science degree in social studies from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, as well as master of science in education and specialist in education degrees in educational leadership from Eastern Illinois University.
Hamil chose to work in the education field because he enjoys the thrill of learning.
“It is that feeling that I want to share with students so that they want to question, explore and learn about the exciting things in the world around them,” Hamil said. “The more we discover and learn, the more potential we create to grow as a whole. It is the wonder and excitement of the ‘light bulb’ moment that I feel everyone should enjoy and continue to seek all through life.”
Hamil supports many local organizations such as the Tamaroa Fire Department and the Village of Tamaroa, as well as the local food pantry, angel tree and other charity drives in the community. Additionally, Hamil and his wife volunteered last summer to conduct two of six week-long summer camps for Tamaroa Grade School, made possible through the school receiving a Healthy Community Investments Grant from the State of Illinois. Students in first through fourth grades focused on physical activity, problem solving and teamwork, while students in fifth through eight grades learned about the science of flight and aircraft design.
“I thoroughly enjoyed being able to coordinate the grant and the programs and see the positive impact that it had on our students and community,” Hamil said. “For myself and our students, it was a very enriching experience of a lifetime.”
During his spare time, Hamil enjoys spending quality time with his family, and going to yard sales and thrift shops.