Christy Tilley, new 6th and 7th grade English and language arts teacher. Photo by Marshall Smith

California native Christy Tilley has taught for the last 16 years within the Hemet Unified School District. She spent the first 14 years at Dartmouth Middle School and then taught at Rancho Viejo Middle School the past two years.


At Idyllwild School, she is the new 6th- and 7th-grade English and language arts teacher. Her commute to work from her Hemet home will be longer, but she is experiencing something new.

“Being here [at Idyllwild School] feels like a relief,” she said. “It seems the way teacher and student interaction should be.” Tilley said her classroom enrollments averaged 40 students at her previous schools. At Idyllwild School, her classes are about 25 students.

“I can do more partner work and group work with the students,” she said. “I can now observe, listen and actually enjoy more what the kids are engaged in, now that I have fewer students.”

Tilley seems dedicated to recognizing and developing what is unique and special in each child.

“I think it is important to make a concerted effort to honor the individual, whatever their inner identity is,” she said. “I also think it’s important to preserve, as long as possible, the innocence of youth, not push them too quickly to grow up, embrace the kid at the stage where they are.”

She notices that Idyllwild School seems to understand that and goes out of its way to protect that innocence.

Tilley remembers being a child herself, worshipping her teachers and loving school, but that in Hemet, especially at her previous school, it was hard to find that same connection. “The whole two years I was there, I wished for change, hoping again to find within myself that same young girl that so loved school.

“Now, here in Idyllwild, it feels that this is the place I was meant to be, where it can all come together.”

Tilley also finds the administration and teaching staff more closely knit at Idyllwild. “The staff is incredibly friendly and gracious and welcoming.” This has been a common observation among the new faculty members.

Tilley is a Liberal Arts graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is married (to Scott) and has two children (Madisen, 12, and Sophia, 9).