Julie McAllister Hillyard was raised in Vancouver, Washington, served in the Philippines Bacolod Mission, and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Psychology. She taught classes to male inmates and mentored female inmates at the Utah State Prison before and as she launched her career. Julie had the privilege of working and traveling with Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and worked with him as he developed and wrote The 8th Habit. She joined him as he consulted with leaders of countries and companies and helped him prepare and deliver presentations to audiences around the world.

Julie has served in various teaching callings, including as an Institute instructor, Relief Society teacher and president, Sunday School and Gospel Doctrine teacher, and Young Women leader. She currently teaches a stake adult religion class and the high school seniors Sunday School class in her ward. Julie is married with three fabulous kids, owns a pickleball paddle company with her husband, and does consulting work in leadership and communications. She is also a host on the Teaching Restored podcast.

Julie Hillyard


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Teaching Restored Podcast
Teaching Sunday School with Questions | An Interview with Kevin Jones
The Power of Learner Councils | A How I Lead Interview with Russell Rigby
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2:10 Kurt introduces Julie Hillyard, the co-host of the podcast Teaching Restored. She shares what the podcast is about.

4:00 Julie’s professional background and experience in teaching. She currently teaches the adult religion class for her stake.

6:20 She worked for Stephen Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. She shares her experience.

11:00 Julie’s stake offers an adult religion class on Tuesdays and Julie teaches it. It’s for people that want to dive more into the scriptures together. It’s like an institute class for adults.

15:30 Inviting discussion can be a vulnerable way to teach but invites something special. Balance discussion and teaching.

17:40 Her class isn’t about teaching all the content of Come Follow Me but setting people up for further study at home. It lines up with the Come Follow Me lessons.

20:00 Finding simplicity on the far side of complexity. As a teacher you have to dig through the weeds to arrive at what you need to focus on in your class. Discussions can be rich if they are facilitated in the right way.

22:00 Best practices for teaching the youth

  • Be real. No fluff. Don’t talk about the superficial stuff.
  • Connect on a casual level before teaching them. Build their trust with you first.

25:20 How to be real with the youth when teaching them. Bring your vulnerability to get vulnerability back. Engage in their vulnerabilities and empathize with them. Make every individual in the class feel seen, heard, and valued.

27:50 Don’t try to do too much with the youth. Julie recommends not breaking off into groups but in pairs. It works better to get them talking and so that people don’t hide in the background.

29:40 When your problem is too much discussion and your lesson is going all over the place. Balancing lecture and discussion.

32:00 Instead of a teachers council create a learners council. Teach people how to be better learners. Lay ground rules as the facilitator of the class so that the conversation and discussion moves the class forward and not all over the place.

37:00 We can create a culture in Sunday school. It can be awkward depending on how the teacher responds to comments and the questions they ask.

39:40 Set rules of gathering. Have people consider if their comment is helping move the lesson forward, how long their comment is, and how many times they comment.

43:30 The reason you have rules of engagement is to create a safe space for everyone. A comment can connect people or disconnect people.

47:20 Creating connection in Sunday school. As a teacher you have the ability to hurt people and shut them down. You have to be very careful. Make people feel not just heard but understood.

55:20 Julie shares when she first started teaching she was so focused on teaching that she forgot about applying.

The Leading Saints Podcast is one of the top independent Latter-day Saints podcasts as part of nonprofit Leading Saints’ mission to help Latter-day Saints be better prepared to lead. Learn more and listen to any of the past episodes for free at LeadingSaints.org.

Past guests include Emily Belle Freeman, David Butler, Hank Smith, John Bytheway, Reyna and Elena Aburto, Liz Wiseman, Stephen M. R. Covey, Julie Beck, Brad Wilcox, Jody Moore, Tony Overbay, John H. Groberg, Elaine Dalton, Tad R. Callister, Lynn G. Robbins, J. Devn Cornish, Bonnie Oscarson, Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Anthony Sweat, John Hilton III, Barbara Morgan Gardner, Blair Hodges, Whitney Johnson, Ryan Gottfredson, Greg McKeown, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Michael Goodman, Wendy Ulrich, Richard Ostler, and many more in over 700 episodes.

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