Hail loves her job at Winona ISD
By CASEY MURPHY
Amanda Hail became interested in psychology when she was a high school student.
While studying the field at The University of Texas at Tyler, she became attracted to counseling and decided to work for a school district so she could work with children and have more time off to spend time with her own kinds when she had them.
"I always really wanted to be a counselor," she said.
Mrs. Hail, 29, of Tyler, grew up mostly in Jacksonville. Her father was in the U.S. Army, so after being born in El Paso, she lived in Germany and Louisiana before her family moved to East Texas when she was 9.
She graduated from Jacksonville High School in 2001 and earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from UT Tyler in 2005. She later received her master's degree in clinical psychology from UT Tyler.
For four years at Winona Independent School District, she has done counseling, cognitive and achievement testing and psychological assessments with special education students. She covers all grade levels. "There is just one of me," she said.
"I absolutely love my job, which is rare," she said.
Winona ISD is a wonderful place to work because it is a close-knit, family-oriented, supportive community school, she said, adding that when most people go to work there they don't leave.
Working in the special education department can be a stressful environment and a challenging job, but everyone supports each other, she said.
For the last two years, Mrs. Hail has also taught one night a week as an adjunct professor at Tyler Junior College's Jacksonville campus, located in the East Texas Medical Center building. She teaches general psychology and human growth and development.
Mrs. Hail has been married to
, a biologist at UT Tyler, for six years, and they have one son, 2-year-old Andrew.
She said holding down two jobs and raising her child has been tough at times, but she is lucky to have a wonderful work schedule. With the summer's end and the start of her fifth year at Winona ISD quickly approaching, she said it is always traumatic to go back to school and leave her son.
"It will be tough on him and on me," she said.
Mrs. Hail said she feels torn between missing her child and the job that she loves.
She said she couldn't do it without the support of her husband.
On Mondays, when she teaches at TJC, she leaves the house at 7 a.m., and doesn't return until 9 p.m. Since her son was a few months old, she took the extra job at TJC to help pay for child care and her husband has taken on full duties when
works late, she said.
"He's a very hands-on dad," she said. "He's always in there with me 100 percent."
Mrs. Hail said her parents, Russell and Marilyn Stafford of Jacksonville, and her husband's parents, Brent and Dana Hail, also of Jacksonville, are also enormous help to them.
Mrs. Hail said her job is very rewarding.
"I would encourage anyone who wants to be a counselor ... you just have to have the heart for it," she said. "It's a cool job. But being a mom is cool too."