Alumni Spotlight

Jillian Coleman Reed, '02

By: Michelle Goff
November 17, 2015

You might say Jillian Coleman Reed, ’02, enjoyed her time at the University of Pikeville.

“I loved dorm life,” Reed says. “I liked the convenience and how I got to be with my best friends all the time. I was an only child, so it was brand new to me to always have somebody there when you needed it.”

Reed’s appreciation for UPIKE didn’t stop at the doors of Page Hall.

“Every Wednesday, they had something for us to do,” she recalls. “They’d take us skating or to a ballgame or we’d have a dance or they’d bring comedians or magicians to campus. But Founders Day was my most favorite thing.”

Indeed, Reed’s memories of that annual event helped lure the Millard High School graduate back to her native Pike County.

“I left the area for 12 years,” she says. “After graduating, I went to Lexington and worked and started my master’s degree. I was working for the Department for Community Based Services in October 2013 when I saw there was a job opening in Pikeville. I said, ‘Transfer me, please.’

“I would get so homesick this time every year because of Homecoming, Founders Day, Halloween. The older I got, the worse the homesickness got.”

Once she returned to the area, Reed, who majored in psychology at UPIKE and earned a master’s degree in guidance counseling from Murray State University, had a difficult time matching a career to her degree.

“It’s difficult to get a job with a school because each school has only one guidance counselor,” she says.

Wanting to “use my degree and be relevant,” Reed opened the Early Learning Center across from Johns Creek School. Although she just recently received a license to operate a child care center, her business already has students and she has a staff. Four full-time employees and two part-time employees help Reed teach four classes – infant (starts at six weeks old), toddler, pre-school, and after-school.

“The after-school program is a focus of the Early Learning Center because it was a community need,” Reed explains. “The closest day care is so far away that the children are being taken out of school early, so they aren’t getting to take advantage of the education system.”

Reed, who lives in the Kimper community with her husband, Will, adds, “I wanted it to be a family business, but I ran out of family.”

She hasn’t run out of friends, though.

“I came to college here because I got a great scholarship,” she says. “I didn’t have any friends who were going here, but I made my best friends here.”

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