Texas Tech University

Early Childhood Education Graduate Selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year

hoyt headshot

Erica Hoyt, Texas Tech University graduate of 2013, was selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year for Richardson ISD. Erica graduated from Texas Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (ECE). She went on to the University of Texas at Arlington to earn her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Language and Literacy. She is certified in General Education PK-6, and is currently working as a third grade teacher teaching reading, writing, and social studies.

As a third grade teacher, Erica loves that she has the opportunity to help eight and nine year old children in their literacy skills. She hopes that the skills she is teaching them now will become the foundation for them as a lifetime reader.

"I get to see their passions unleashed in their books, their writing, and the way they see and understand the world around them," Erica said. "I truly believe I get to teach the most crucial and life building subjects, and I love it!"

Erica chose her major in Early Childhood Education because she wanted to understand the "why" behind child development. Her degree gave her the necessary tools she needed to know and truly understand how children grow and learn through their developmental stages.

"From pre-natal to school aged, I truly got to build the understanding of child development," Erica said. "I believe it's helped me greatly in meeting my students where they are on their developmental levels."

Erica says that what sets the Early Childhood Education program apart from other programs at Texas Tech is the experiences it provides with young children. She was able to better understand students that are on different developmental levels through her labs, theory classes, the Child Development Research Center (CDRC), and practical experiences that she was given in her undergrad.

"It helped equip me to not only support the students developmentally on grade level, but all students," Erica said.

Something else that Erica appreciated about her time in the College of Human Sciences was opportunities to participate in many hands-on experiences.

"I was able to not only have experiences in the CDRC with infants and toddlers, but 7-8 lengthy interactions in classrooms around Lubbock."

This year, Erica was selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year for Richardson ISD. She reflects that it has been an incredible and humbling year for her.

"There are so many educators who deserve this award that I admire and look up to," Erica said. "I am proud I can be the voice for amazing educators everywhere and champion them. Being an

educator is a beautiful, challenging, rewarding career and I am so thankful to be in the company of game-changers in the field."

One of Erica's favorite courses that she completed in the Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) department was Adolescent Guidance with Mitzi Ziegner. Erica says that Mitzi changed the way she saw student behavior and how to manage her class.

"I truly feel that my time in the HDFS department was the building blocks that built my foundation as an educator. I remember so many of my amazing professors and the knowledge they imparted."

In her free time, Erica loves to spend time with her husband Jason (also a TTU alum) and their dog and cat, Stella and Leo. She is an avid reader, and spends her weeks reading all kinds of books. She spends most Sunday afternoons wandering the aisles of the library. She and her husband love to be outdoors, travel, and cheer on Red Raider sports.