Diana Hill is one of the many staff alumni of The New England Center for Children ® (NECC®) who has brought the knowledge and expertise gained at NECC to the public-school setting. After graduating UMass Amherst in the spring of 2005 and spending three years as a paraprofessional, Hill began work at NECC as a teacher on a residential team in 2008.

Over the next three years, she asserted herself as a leader on her team, being a model teacher while on shift and providing training to new staff. In addition to performing at a high level for NECC, Hill also spent time in the Simmons University graduate program. In 2011, after completing her master’s degree, Hill decided to continue helping children with autism outside the NECC realm and began her career in special education in a public school.

Hill began working at Wilmington (MA) High School in the fall of 2011. Over the last decade, she has created and developed a post-graduation program to help students with autism learn important life skills, such as travel training, purchasing, and essential job skills to prepare for finding and keeping a job in the community. Working with her students, she says, is what keeps her motivated.

“The most rewarding part of this field is being with the students and being able to see and celebrate the gains they make, both big and small. That is what keeps me going every day.”

In order to effectively work with her students, Hill has leaned on her time at NECC. The combination of expertise and experience gained from her time in the Simmons program and working as a teacher are what enables her to provide effective programming.

While Hill loves her current role, there is something she misses from NECC. Like so many staff alumni, the relationships she built with her residential students and fellow team members provide some of the most lasting memories of her time at NECC. Because of this, she will always look back on her days at NECC fondly, even while she continues to change the lives of her students in Wilmington.

“You don’t find a team anywhere else like you have at NECC. I really miss the relationships that I made there, but the memories will stay with me forever.”