This award highlights the good teaching and learning occurring in classrooms around our country every day. It invites teachers into a community of educators passionate about their students and their content and, at the same time, issues a challenge for continued effort on behalf of our students. I am honored to be recognized as a part of this group and am thankful to my family and the many colleagues, parents, and children who have partnered with me through the years.

Erika Hassay Austin, TX | K-6, Mathematics, 2014

Erika Hassay has been an educator for 12 years with experience in kindergarten, first, second, and fourth grade in public and private schools in Uganda and the United States. She spent the last eight years at Live Oak Elementary School in Austin teaching second and first grade in a unique setting that included students who are deaf and hard of hearing.   Erika believes that mathematics is learned best when students are responsible, active, and vocal participants. To this end, she fosters a lively community of problem-solving mathematicians in her classroom. Even young children are expected to discuss, debate, challenge, and learn from one another's thinking. Erika has partnered with university professors and educational researchers to both refine her practice and contribute to the larger discussion about the characteristics of good teaching and mathematics learning. She has coauthored several presentations and publications to this end. Erika has served as a cooperating teacher for preservice teachers and routinely opens her classroom to students from universities for observation and practice teaching experiences. She has mentored new teachers and held several leadership roles at her school and district.  Erika has a B.A. and M.A. in education from Harding University. She is certified in elementary education with gifted and talented, and English as a second language endorsements.