About 500 new Richardson ISD teachers gathered at Richardson High School Monday morning to kick-start a week of professional development.

New Richardson ISD teachers gather at Richardson High School

The RISD Excellence in Education Foundation sponsored the new-teacher breakfast and also recognized RISD’s 2019–2020 Teachers of the Year.

Erica Hoyt, a third-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Wallace, is the foundation’s elementary school teacher of the year; and Sonya Ayers, a dyslexia specialist at Apollo Junior High, represents #RISDGreatness at the secondary campus level.

Sonya Ayers, Dr. Stone, Erica Hoyt

Ayers has been with RISD for 23 years, and Hoyt is starting her sixth year of teaching, all at RISD.

The EiE breakfast gave them an opportunity to say something about all the joys and challenges the new teachers are about to experience. Ayers and Hoyt encouraged the young teachers to keep a journal, remember to eat lunch, and get busy planning to plan and structuring those structures.

Navigating any new job can seem daunting, and the EiE’s new-teacher breakfast is the first step in helping these new RISD employees feel welcome and connected to the larger community.

Hayden Foster is a first-year teacher at Spring Creek Elementary, which happens to be the school her father attended.

Hayden Foster and RISD Trustee Katie Patterson

Hayden recently graduated from the University of Texas and said RISD already feels like home.

“I looked everywhere between here and Austin for the right district for me, and RISD consistently proved itself to be the best in every category,” she said. “I connected with (RISD Director of Math) Doug Planey and (RISD Executive Director of Teaching & Learning) Denise Beutel at the teacher career fair at UT-Austin in the spring and immediately knew that Richardson was my top choice. I was looking for recruiters who looked like they were actual friends, and ended up at the RISD booth for an hour asking questions and laughing with them after they helped me untangle a ton of stickers from my hair.”

Foster was inspired to become an educator through the efforts of her teachers.

“In elementary, I was a really bad student with really great teachers, so I wanted an opportunity to change the lives of kids like me,” she said. “I love the idea of getting to build real relationships with kids because I know that the best learning happens when kids feel comfortable and cared for.”

The RISD Excellence in Education Foundation knows that educators also perform at their best when they are cared for, as well.

The Foundation presented each of this year’s new teachers with a gift card from Staples to help get them get started on supplemental classroom supplies. In all, the EiE provided about $10,000 worth of gift cards.

EiE Foundation Welcomes RISD’s First-Year Teachers for 2019–2020 was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.