By Kerri Bartlett, Assistant Editor
New principal Alisha Erickson and her daughter Addison, a kindergarten student, began their first day of school together at Poplar Grove Elementary. Submitted
Growing up, Alisha Erickson, new principal at Poplar Grove Elementary School, always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. Throughout her life, her path toward the field of education was illuminated by her positive experiences with children and the school setting.
“I had a third grade teacher who really connected to students and made learning fun, not typical. She did everything to engage us in the lesson,” Erickson said. A native of Fairview and FvHS graduate, Erickson dreamed of someday impacting children in her own community in a similar way.
While only a teenager in high school, Erickson was promoted to lead teacher at the local preschool where she worked part-time. She also babysat “all of her life” and was a nanny in college, while studying at MTSU to obtain a degree in Early Childhood Education. Although the family offered her full time work as a nanny, she decided to begin her career as a second grade teacher with Williamson County Schools in 2004.
At only 31, Erickson has developed into a seasoned educator over the past decade as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, assistant principal, and now holds her first position as principal at Poplar Grove Elementary. She served as assistant principal at Moore Elementary in the Franklin Special School District for two years before her appointment.
Erickson holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.
In just six months, Erickson has organized a Building Leadership Team, implemented monthly teacher appreciation activities, held a clothes drive for students in need, secured a Promethean inter-active technology board (with help from the PTO) for each grade level Pre-K through 4 and remodeled the main office.
Erickson’s focus as principal is not only supporting students but also doing her best to support teachers.
“Cultivating a feel of community and family is important,” Erickson said. “Education is a challenging field in which expectations are high. It’s important to support teachers and celebrate successes.
“If teachers are going to support children, it’s my job to make sure that teachers have everything they need each day to accomplish that when they walk in the door.”
Once a month, Erickson conducts a teacher appreciation day in which teachers receive special treats to make their day brighter—whether coffee or a gift card.
“I’m a small town girl. I’m from a close-knit community, and I believe in creating closeness within a community,” Erickson said.
Erickson also said that she doesn’t expect from teachers anything that she doesn’t expect of herself. Once when the custodian was out, she even collected the trash in the building.
As for her vision for the future, “I want us to be a Reward School.”
“I want us to continue to grow as a cohesive staff and community while meeting and exceeding our goals.”
Posted on: 12/19/2013