Faculty Spotlight: Jill Stafford

Jill Stafford is the Elementary and Middle/Upper Theater Directress and just started her 3rd year at MSR. Jill is originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and has been working with children for over 30 years. She studied Drama and Voice and worked with theatre companies in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York. She is pictured here with her husband, Terry, daughter, Blake and son, Ian. We sat down with Jill to find out how she spent her summer and a little bit more about her!

Tell us about your summer!
I love summer! I really enjoyed teaching Summerscape, tutoring, yoga, and going to the pool. I trekked to Hilton Head, Asheville, and Folly Beach. We were also very busy planning the wedding celebration for our daughter, Blake.

Tell us a bit more about yourself!
1. What three traits define you?
Open-minded, industrious, creative

2. What is your personal philosophy?
I’m a work hard/play hard kind of person. I believe that learning how to work – in all different arenas – is healthy and necessary. I also believe that enjoying what you love like travel, food, news, whatever – is just as healthy and necessary. I am a classic extrovert and enjoy meeting new people and starting new projects.

3. What are you listening to/reading these days?
I’m reading the first book of Game of Thrones and listening to The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman. I read a lot and listen to audio books on my commute from Durham.

4. Do you have any pets? What kind?
We have 2 cats, Zane and Zoe. We got them when we became empty nesters.

5. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Going out to dinner, listening to live music, shopping, and reading.

6. Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Sweden. My sister lived there for many years. It is so clean and perfect there. I want to live there.

7. What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
Give yourself permission to not be like everyone else and stop trying so hard to be like everyone else.

8. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I don’t cook. Anything. Ever. I am the worst cook in the world and have always disliked every single minute of it. It’s the one thing my mom and I have in common. I obviously love food and was lucky to marry a chef! It’s a big family joke that I married a chef so I could eat and never have to cook!

9. Who is/are your biggest inspiration/s?
My incredible family: husband Terry, daughter Blake (23), and son Ian (22). Terry and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this year. I went back to school to become a teacher when our kids were born. Nothing was as important to me as learning more about them. The four of us are still a team and they all continue to inspire me.

10. Where did you go to school and what did you study?
My first college experience was at the University of Georgia and I studied Theatre Arts, Voice, and Foreign Languages. I also received a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from UNC-Greensboro in 2004.

11. Ten years ago, where did you think you would be now?
Living in Asheville. But we don’t want to move now since I have my dream job!!

12. What’s the coolest (or most important) trend you see today?
Wellness and essential oils. I very recently started to learn about essential oils. I have always enjoyed aromatherapy and have started to attend talks about how they contribute to wellness.

13. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t a teacher?
Write plays or novels and direct them as film or live theatre.

14. What is your favorite thing about working at MSR?
Having beautiful spaces and amazing colleagues to build a program! The support of the administration, parents, and students has fueled the growth of Theatre here. It is an incredibly positive feeling when you feel motivated every day to create!

15. What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to your students?
Don’t waste time. Life moves fast. Take risks. A wise young man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
–F. Bueller