Education Connection Founder
Jill Harrell is a sled dog race fan, amateur musher and 3rd grade teacher from Bend, Oregon. Jill brought 12 years of classroom teaching and 8 years of sled dog experience to our race.
After receiving her Master’s degree in Teaching in 2008, Jill joined local Bend musher, Jerry Scdoris, on his weekend training runs. “Every day, my admiration grew for these athletic dogs and their human companions. I was teaching all week, then spending every spare moment on the weekends at the kennel and on the trail. I helped with the sled dog tours at Mt. Bachelor and took school kids on sled dog rides. I even entered local races. While sharing my love of sled dogs with my students, I noticed even my most RELUCTANT learners were curious and engaged. No one, absolutely no one, wanted to miss a day of school if we were tracking a race. So, I started integrating a sled dog theme throughout my daily lessons of math, science, and language arts. Attending the 2009 Iditarod Education Conference in Anchorage sealed the deal, and I’ve been using sled dog racing in my classroom since. It is the most engaging theme I have ever used to get kids inspired and curious about the world around them”.
In 2015-16, Jill promoted the Wyoming Stage Stop Sled Dog Race by providing educational resources for classrooms in local communities and beyond. She created the first race curriculum and designed this Education Connection portal for our race website. She authored dozens of articles, created the Breeze Blog for kids, promoted and conducted classroom field trips, and coordinated live video chats with classes in Oregon from the race. All as a volunteer!