This school year, Herkimer Central School District is focusing the Spotlight Q&A feature on Herkimer CSD alumni who are giving back to the school community by working in the district as teachers or staff.
Spotlight on: Cheryl O’Connell Jory
Sixth grade teacher
“I truly love being a Magician, and there is no place I would rather be teaching.”
Q. What year did you graduate from Herkimer?
Q. What’s your favorite high school memory?
A. I have so many wonderful memories of my time at Herkimer High School. I loved being involved in student government and social activities. I still keep in touch with many of my high school friends.
Q. What led you to become a teacher?
A. My path to teaching was a more unconventional route. I worked at a long term care facility, Herkimer County Department of Social Services and Probation. I worked with kids and families but decided I wanted to in a different way. I had a colleague who was going back to become a teacher, and she encouraged me to return to school at age 35!
Q. What else have you been doing between when you graduated from Herkimer and now?
A. After high school, I continued my education at Herkimer College and SUNY Polytechnic Institute, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 1992. I got married in 1995 to my husband, Mike. We have two daughters: Chelsea (HHS Class of 2014) and Emily (HHS Class of 2018). Chelsea is an assistant district attorney in Fulton County, and Emily is a teacher at Central Valley Academy. I received my master’s degree in childhood education in 2008. I have run in 11 Boilermaker 15K races and did The Ride for Missing Children seven times.
Q. Did anyone from Herkimer Central School District influence you in becoming who you are today?
A. I can’t say there was one particular teacher, as most of them all influenced me in some way. My accounting teacher, Mr. Spinner, had a very easy-going way about him which is how I try to be with my students.
Q. What makes you most excited or most fulfilled about working at Herkimer after previously going to school here?
A. I truly love being a Magician, and there is no place I would rather be teaching. It is so wonderful to have students and family of people I went to school with. It’s a great connection with my students to talk about memories of going to school together. There is a long history of Magicians in my family: my grandmother, mom, aunts and uncles all went to Herkimer.
Q. What advice do you have for current Herkimer students?
A. You will always be a Magician. Take that magic with you wherever you go. Be happy. Be successful. Enjoy every magical moment.