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Jessica Pitcher

Jessica Pitcher

Champaign principal | Robeson Elementary | Class of 2000

Boss. Believer. Buyer of non-traditional gifts.

Bill Testory was all that — and then some — to future elementary principal and then-UI student Jessica Pitcher (BS ’00/biology; MS ’03/curriculum and instruction).

“He was the assistant director of the Materials Research Lab and my boss for four years as I worked and went to school,” Pitcher says. “He trusted me with more responsibilities than just running errands and making coffee. His example and faith in my work is one reason I think I am good at building capacity in others today.

“I can remember skipping class to go work because I enjoyed the office so much — and needed to hustle to pay for college.

“One year for Christmas, he gave me a Craftsman drill. That may seem odd, but I was always working on some home improvement or mechanical project and this was encouragement to learn new things and be a problem-solver.

“I have added a few tools to my collection over the years, but still have and use that old Craftsman.”