The student news source of Iowa City West High


Special education social worker Elizabeth Lilly at the end of her career.

Elizabeth Lilly

Although Elizabeth Lilly has worked at West High for only six years, she’s been in the district for over 20 years as a special education social worker. She connects students to mental health resources in the community, and as a licensed mental health counselor, she helps with crisis management and emotional regulation.

She worked offsite with special education programs and teachers throughout the district, but she highlights one of the reasons she came to West was because of the staff.

“I know the West special education staff pretty well, and I really enjoy working here because they’re all very supportive and funny, and they’re a good group of teachers,” Lilly said.

Her favorite memories of working in the school district were when special education students would go on overnight camping trips and long hikes. She enjoyed nature and seeing students grow through the experience.

“It was really good for students who had never experienced that,” she said.

However, throughout her years in the district, one thing that has stood out is the increasing use of technology. While she agrees that cell phones and computers are useful ways to access information, she warns students of the distractions that come with them.

“They can be wonderful, a resource for information and helping with school, but I also see it as a large distraction for many of our students,” Lilly said.

Lilly also points out the growing diversity of students in the ICCSD.

“I think a more diverse school makes it more interesting school,” she said.

However, she will miss the challenge and variety of her job as well as the group of people she works with on a daily basis.

“Every day for the last 22 years has always been different,” she said. “I love working with the team. Special education teachers are a special breed. They have a different perspective, [in] teaching and what students are going through sometimes, and they’re just a really nice, fun, group of people.”

Lilly plans to travel this summer and potentially work with the school district on a part-time basis.

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