2008 Teacher of the Year
Erika C. Hitchcock
Erika C. Hitchcock, a grade 3 – 8 visual arts teacher at the Old Donation Center (ODC), was today named the citywide 2008 Virginia Beach City Public Schools Teacher of the Year. In a surprise visit made to her classroom this morning, Superintendent James G. Merrill and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Christine Caskey made the announcement and presented her with an engraved school bell and other congratulatory gifts.
Chosen from an initial pool of 87 teachers representing their schools, Hitchcock was one of ten semifinalists selected to receive classroom visits by the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. The field was further narrowed when five finalists, of whom Hitchcock was one, were individually interviewed by the Committee. According to Selection Committee Chairperson Lavern Chatman, each of the finalists was an outstanding, creative teacher. However, it was Hitchcock’s ability to create lessons that assisted students in becoming active learners who engaged in interdisciplinary inquiry through the visual arts that led to her selection. Moreover, according to Chatman, Hitchcock uses the visual arts as a tool to guide her students to expand their knowledge base, consider the world with a critical perspective, appreciate diversity, practice personal reflection and think beyond the obvious.
Erica Hitchcock is a truly outstanding teacher,” said Chatman. “Not only is she a shining example to her peers, but she is dedicated to providing her students stimulating conceptual units of study that incorporate numerous community resources. For example, Hitchcock was able to generate $6,500 with the help of community supporters to provide such artistic endeavors as bringing actors from the Lion King, famous book illustrators, and local artists in various media to the students at ODC.”
Hitchcock has been a teacher for five years, with all of these years dedicated to Virginia Beach City Public Schools and ODC. However, prior to becoming a teacher, she was a graphic designer in the business world for nine years. She made the switch to education when she decided she wanted a profession with more interaction and connections with others. Once the decision was made, she devoted herself to bringing to students visual arts experiences that might otherwise be out of their reach.
In only five years, Hitchcock has served in many leadership roles, including chair of several initiatives for visual arts including ODC testing, technology, proposal developing, and newsletters for the visual arts program. Remarkably, she has stepped forward not only to raise thousands of dollars for special programs, field trips, and collaborative units, but she has also organized numerous student exhibit opportunities and served as an evaluator for high school student art candidates to the Governor’s School and to the VBCPS Visual and Performing Arts Academy. Her professional associations are also numerous, among them the National, Virginia, and Tidewater Art Education Associations, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and the Golden Key International Honor Society.
Hitchcock is the recipient of a variety of awards and recognitions, including the Virginia Art Education Tidewater Region Elementary Art Educator of the Year for 2005, an Exemplary Publication Award for 2004 for the Visual Arts Program Newsletter, an award for her contributions to the Virginia Beach Art Program, and a Tagged by the Superintendent award in 2005.
Hitchcock holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education from Old Dominion University and gifted endorsement from the University of Virginia. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts Education program at Virginia Commonwealth University.
For more information about the Virginia Beach Schools 2008 Teacher of the Year program, please contact the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at 757.263.1070.