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Poole Staff Spotlight: Meet Heidi Echols

After more than 20 years in higher education, Heidi Echols joined Poole College in December 2020 as an instructional designer. For Echols, who spent the bulk of her career as a faculty member with Salem College in Winston-Salem, it’s a perfect blend of her passions for education, mentoring and student success.

Echols says her role as part of the college’s Instructional Design Group (IDG) allows her to help create holistic learning experiences that help instructors fulfill their goals in a student-centered way. “I want to help students learn better by helping faculty teach better,” she explains. On top of her role as an instructional designer, Echols serves as one of the college’s wellness champions, where she works to promote university-wide wellness initiatives by communicating health and wellness activities to her colleagues, encouraging and motivating staff and faculty participation, and hosting wellness activities to promote holistic health and wellbeing.

Q&A with Heidi Echols

What is a project in your current role that you are particularly proud of? 

Chris Lehman, Elizabeth Shamblin, Beth Shepherd, Heidi Echols and Jessica Moran

Reaching out to Richard Warr, associate dean of faculty and research, to see if he would teach a yoga class for the college and then watching it bloom into weekly practice! I am also proud to have been the lead in hiring Chris Lehman, an instructional digital media specialist and our newest IDG member. He is fantastic and I know our faculty will enjoy working with him.

What’s the most memorable Poole College event you have attended?

I really enjoyed the Cultural Appropriation, Let’s Talk About It! event that was part of the Poole Pack Development Series. It was packed with realizations and steps for awareness that were powerful! Most of us had these “a-ha” moments together. I so appreciate what Tayah Butler is doing to create a safe place for us to learn and grow together.

Why do you love being a part of Poole?

I love Poole first because of my director, Beth Shepherd. She is just an excellent human being!  I also love the extended IDG and being in the transformative powers of higher education.

Tell us more about your life outside of Poole College.

Echols wearing a hat made by her husband, who also makes 18th-century military clothing for movies and museums.

I love movement – modern dance and yoga are my jam! I teach them both, too. I enjoy the spontaneity and adventure that traveling with my family of six brings. I work from home in my closet that my architect husband fitted out for me. Thankfully, it already had a window.

My Poole colleagues might not know…

Mini pizzas made by Heidi and her family

That we have tiny pizza nights most Fridays at our home. I make homemade pizza crust and sauce and my family helps with assembly and cooking. 

You get to pass the baton! Who do you want us to learn about next?

I would love everyone to get to know more about my fellow Poole College wellness champion, and assistant director of advising and student affairs, Alissa Dodds.