3 Pieces of Advice for New Advisers, From Advisers

Advice for the First Year Adviser

No one becomes an expert at anything the first time they try it. But it helps tremendously to get advice from those who do know what they’re doing. Advising yearbook is no exception. The task of overseeing the creation of the yearbook can seem daunting, intimidating and overwhelming to say the least, but as you set off on this exciting journey, know you’re not alone.

Read on for three experienced advisers’ advice if you’re newer to this whole yearbook thing.

“It’s okay to not be the expert in the publication room and know everything. Acknowledge that this year you are going to absorb as much knowledge as you can about advising. Let your yerds — students and Herff community — share with you their expertise and skills and then try to pick one or two things that you really want to focus on during the year with your staff to make the best yearbook possible. When you are struggling, reach out to your Herff family, and they’ll support you however they can. You have just begun one of the greatest rides in your teaching career. Embrace your yerdiness and enjoy the ride!”



Justin Daigle, CJE
Brighton (CO) High School
Yearbook Adviser

When I’m not getting my Yerd on, you can find me being an uncle to my niece and two nephews (future yerds in the making) or jamming out to some Carrie Underwood (in the car, in the classroom, anywhere and everywhere!) But chances are I’m doing all three at the same time! Life is good.


“Yearbook advisers need to support their students. I think it’s really important to spend some time at the beginning of the school year bonding. I plan bonding activities for the first four Fridays of the school year. At our school, we are lucky to have a ropes course, so we do that at least once. I also have my editors come up with activities and games. Although bonding is important, my staff needs to understand that I will support them, and go head to head with other teachers or administrators who give them a hard time, but they always have to be following our guidelines and be polite and respectful. My staff can’t be confirming the fears of other teachers, that yearbook students are getting their friends out of class to chat. We have to prove every year that we are serious journalists, and as long as my staff works at that, I will support them.”


Stephaine Orth

Stephanie Orth
Lake Orion (MI) High School
Yearbook Adviser

After seven years of advising the Dragon yearbook, I have come to realize it is my passion.  I love the creative outlet it provides, the fresh start each year with a new theme and staff, and the crazy number of possibilities available to us as we strive to document the school year. I also teach English and Journalism, have three daughters, a second home in northern Michigan and love yoga, running, downhill skiing and reading.


“Welcome, first-year advisers! Feeling a bit overwhelmed, nervous, lost? DON’T! You are about to embark on a wonderful adventure. Let your creativity surface, and think outside of that proverbial box. Sure, you may encounter terms like “pica” that you may only see on Jeopardy, “crop” that has nothing to do with riding horses, others, like “bleed,” which fortunately don’t need a Band-Aid, or “grid” that has no resemblance to carpool gridlock at 3 p.m. And “drop cap” doesn’t mean that you have dropped the toothpaste top down the drain!

But once you master these terms, it will all start to make sense, and you will be well on your way. You may never look at your favorite magazine in quite the same way; instead of clipping recipes and household hints, you will begin to look for cool font combinations, caption and copy starters and the latest design elements. Take advantage of the support that Herff Jones offers: your rep will be knowledgeable and helpful — before long he or she will be more than a lifeline on speed dial, they will be a friend. Order the company’s yearbook curriculum and use it in your classroom. Check out the Herff Jones website. There is a wealth of helpful information online in addition to scores of sample yearbook pages to browse through. Join your state’s scholastic press association and attend some workshops; this will allow you to not only broaden your journalistic horizons, but to meet other advisers, as well. Embrace the opportunity you have been given. You will be glad you did.”



Janey Miller
Mobile (AL) UMS-Wright Preparatory School
Yearbook Adviser

A former varsity volleyball, cross country and track and field coach, I now love being a full-time yerd! Living on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico with my hubby and my toes in the sand, my nose in a good (year)book and any one of my five grandkiddos in my arms makes me one happy gal!
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