Both of the jobs Dodie Hill have held will have an important place in her heart long after she retires. Not that retirement is coming anytime soon. She’s enjoying what she does to even consider it.
For the past five years she’s been secretary at Jacksonville High School. Before that she was administrative assistant and account coordinator for United Way. What she liked about that job was finding ways to help others. What she likes about her current job is having the chance five days a week to see the adults of tomorrow, the movers, shakers and leaders of the future, while hoping she can make an impact on their lives.
Dodie said her job is fast paced from the minute she walks into the building until she leaves.
“Every day is different, and that’s one of the things I enjoy about it,” she said. “It involves everything from checking a student in or out of school to making sure parents’ and visitors’ questions are answered or getting messages delivered. It’s constant, but I enjoy being with the young people.”
She likes the adults as well.
“I was honored when Mr. (Mike) Newell, Mrs. (Erika) Clark and Ms. (Yvonne) Swift hired me,” Dodie said. “I’ve never forgotten what Mr. Newell said to me. He said, ‘You will learn something every day.’ And now, five years later, it’s still true.”
Dodie said she appreciates the help she gets from the students in running the front office.
“The student workers answer the phone and run errands,” she said. “They’re absolutely phenomenal, and they keep me young. They’re the reason I enjoy my job so much. I usually have two or three in there every period.”
Dodie said she makes an effort every day to make students smile and make them happy. She said she greets every student, parent and visitor every day with a smile.
“I feel blessed to be in that front office,” she said. “Some of these students that come through these doors have come from a different background that I did. I want them to be able to learn valuable lessons while they’re here. If I can greet them with a warm smile and be friendly to them, I hope that teaches them to treat everybody with the same kindness. That’s very important.”
Dodie’s parents are the late Tom, a businessman, and Jeanne Minter (Dyer) Coleman, a teacher. Even after her death, Dodie said her mother, a firm believer in education, continued to teach by donating her body to the University of Alabama in Birmingham. So did her father.
Dodie and her husband, Tim, married in July. They’ve known each other since their days as students at Anniston Elementary School. Tim drives to Birmingham for his job as a pilot. Dodie is a former resident of Jacksonville, but when they married they decided they needed to live in a central location for their jobs. They chose Anniston.
Dodie has two children. Cal Newman lives and works in a family business in Huntsville. Her daughter and son-in-law, Minter and Ethan Maske live in Smiths Station. Minter is a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at a hospital in Columbus, Ga. Ethan teaches and is an assistant basketball coach in Phenix City. Tim’s daughter, Morgan, a student at the University of Alabama, will graduate in May. His son, Cole, is in the Marine Corps. Dodie’s brother, Gibson, lives in Anniston and works at a local bank. Her sister and brother-in-law, Jeanette and Steve Berryman live in Killen.
Dodie and Tim like to walk in their neighborhood and visit antique and thrift stories. Dodie enjoys yard work, crafting and needlework.
She graduated from Anniston High School. She attended the University of Alabama and then “heard Jacksonville State University calling my name.” She received a bachelor’s in business in 1982 and a master’s in public administration in 1985 from JSU.
Dodie likes to cook, but she also likes to hand over the cooking duties to her husband, who she says does an excellent job in preparing meals. Tim usually does most of the cooking.
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6-8 chicken breasts
1 c. sour cream
2 t. poppy seeds
2 cans chicken-mushroom soup
25 Ritz crackers
Cook chicken. Cut off bone into pieces. Put in 7x11 inch buttered dish. Mix soup and sour cream. Pour over chicken. Crush crackers and combine with poppy seeds. Sprinkle over soup mixture. Spread squeeze margarine over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.
8 oz. sour cream
½ c. corn oil
1 small (8 ¾ oz. can) cream style corn
1 c. white corn meal
1 ½ t. salt
3 t. baking powder
Beat eggs lightly. Blend in in, sour cream and corn. Add corn meal, salt and baking powder. Bake in 8x8x2” pan for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Dodie said this is good enough for company and is great with chili.
(Makes 2 pies)
2 c. sugar
½ t. baking powder
2 T. flour
2 c milk
½ stick melted butter
1 t. vanilla
1 (8 oz.) can coconut
2 unbaked pie shells
Mix sugar, baking powder and flour. Beat eggs then milk, butter and vanilla. Add coconut. Pour mixture into 2 pie shells. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Dodie said her grandmother made “these great pies often.”