BY ALICIA KRUEGER
Award-winning Carmel High history teacher Jillayne Ange recently announced her planned Dec. 21 departure for Boise, Idaho, with her husband, Joe, and three children, ending nearly 20 years of teaching at the school.
“I’ve loved working here,” Ange says. “Joe has loved his job too. We both love Carmel Valley, and we have lived here for almost 20 years. But we also love Idaho, and Joe’s job is taking us there.”
Over the past two decades, Ange has dedicated herself to her students and, through that, become highly successful. She’s been awarded the Monterey County Crystal Apple Award, which is dedicated to outstanding teachers on the Central Coast in 2019, CHS’ Teacher of the Year in 2016, CHS’ Mentor of the Year in 2004 and was voted by the 2018 senior class to read names at their graduation.
“Last year, I caught word of the Crystal Apple Award and already knew what I was going to do,” junior Jabin Trosky explains. “I rallied my classmates as best as I could to vote and write their explanation of why Ange deserved it on the KSBW news website. I wanted Mrs. Ange to get the recognition she deserved.”
In order to win the Crystal Apple Award, an educator has to have the best and the most recommendations from students and parents among anyone on the peninsula. On Jan. 19, KSBW news anchor Dan Green came into Room 32 to present the award as Ange broke down in tears of appreciation and shock. This quickly became one of Ange’s favorite memories from teaching high school students.
“Mrs. Ange has the ability to turn the whole classroom from one filled with tired and irritated students to a strangely positive and energetic one,” sophomore Tristan Staehle says. “It’s why she’s everyone’s favorite teacher. She represents this energy in her way of life, and it takes impact on her current and past students.”
Ange’s not only recognized by students, but also by administration. Rick Lopez, Carmel High School’s former principal of 10 years, commends Ange for her ability to manage a family with little kids and simultaneously excel at her job, always prioritizing her students.
“We are talking about a teacher who so much mirrors the values and the desire of Carmel High to care about the students,” Lopez says. “She’s extremely competent with content and understands how to help kids learn and progress, but what makes all of that come together in a way that is so impactful is her heart for the kids. She cares deeply about all of her students and all the kids at the school, and I think that’s the differentiator for what makes her an outstanding educator. She helps to characterize the whole school.”
Ange is known on and off campus as a teacher who cares about her students and recognizes that without a teacher-student relationship, only limited learning is possible.
“The maps are always here, but it’s really about them, the students,” Ange says. “I love getting to know my students and having those relationships forever. That part I’m going to miss.”
Ange does not plan on teaching right away in Idaho. Instead, she looks to stay home to parent and be more accessible to her children as they grow up. Ange has been working a full-time job while being a mother to three for the past 13 years.
“Jillayne is one of my best friends,” comments CHS activities director Aubrey Powers. “I value her opinion and have appreciated her guidance in navigating the challenges of being a working mom. She has been a source of strength and support for me as a teacher at Carmel High. I love her, and I will miss not seeing her every day.”
Although leaving will be difficult, Ange reminds her community and herself that it is the right decision.
“This is emotional for me,” Ange says in response to why she’s choosing not to teach right away. “A whole chapter of my life needs to close for a little.”
Ange will have worked at CHS for 18½ years at the end of this fall semester. After majoring in History of the Arts and graduating with a bachelor’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, Ange began working at CHS at the age of 23.
“I think I kind of grew up here, being 23 when I started and not married,” Ange reflects. “Now I am coming out of here with three kids and 18 years of amazing teaching, and I am so, so thankful for all of it.”
After announcing her departure, Ange’s students all signed the white board in the back of her classroom. Each student left a different note, with sayings like “I’ll never forget you,” “I love you,” and “No Idaho!”
“She is able to light up any room with her bright smile, gentle laugh and natural talent to connect with anyone she meets,” comments Tyler Bianchi, one of Ange’s 2018-19 Students of the Year. “She employs this ability in her classroom where she strives to develop a personal relationship with each and every one of her students. I am so grateful to have had her in one of her final years at CHS. She’s truly one in a million.”
Current students and alumni will remember Ange as a truly caring teacher with a big and fun, yet productive personality. Ange has devoted two decades of teaching to CHS, and the community continues to thank her for her time here. She has been a huge part in the growth of many students and the growth of the atmosphere of the school at large.
“I am leaving a lot,” Ange adds. “There is so much to leave here. I don’t want people to think that I was unhappy here—I left here because I am following my husband and doing what is best for my family. Change is scary, but it’s also exciting.”