Faculty Focus: Amanda Errington
College of Education
Title: Online Full-Time Faculty
Years at GCU: Three months full-time faculty; adjunct faculty, in person and online, since 2013.
Academic degrees: B.S. in Elementary Education, 2004, and Master’s in Reading, 2007, both from Slippery Rock University.
What has it been like to start a position at home?
It has been extremely successful, in part because of the immense support my manager and team provide me. I have a few mentor faculty members who have taught me everything I need to know about my courses and the GCU community. The faculty is caring, collaborative and creative, often sharing innovative strategies to engage our students around the country. As adjunct faculty for so many years, I even am meeting current faculty whom I had in the reading courses I taught. It is very exciting to see that even in such a big world, the education community is small and comes full circle.
What is your most notable accomplishment in your field, and why was it important?
I have been a reading specialist and literacy leader for some time now. In the past few years, I have been an advocate for more intensive professional development for teachers to provide reading interventions that specifically support students who struggle with reading and writing. After years of grant writing and proposals at my previous district, several intervention staff, myself included, were trained in a systematic, multisensory reading intervention program. This had a huge effect on our intervention program, special education department and the students we served.
What are you most passionate about in your field and why?
If it’s good for kids, first, then good for teachers, why not go for it? I am very passionate about quality teacher professional development across the curriculum, including strong literacy instruction and social-emotional learning. I am and will always be a cheerleader for educators and believe that a teacher can make a difference in the lives of children.
I have become so passionate about education because of the research I did during my master’s program on teacher efficacy, the mentorship I received during my years of teaching and the spirit to never stop learning. If something wasn’t working for a child or teacher, I read, I researched, I watched teaching videos and found another way. One size does not fit all in the world of education.
This was highlighted in a story Cronkite News-Arizona PBS did when I was a principal, https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2018/09/17/new-arizona-law-requires-two-recesses/. Educating the whole child happens inside and outside the classroom.
What is a memorable moment you had in class, and what does that reveal about your teaching style?
In 2019-20, I served as principal at my charter school and found a third grade classroom in need of a teacher. With the support of my team, I stepped back into the classroom for nine weeks until we could find a suitable replacement. Yes, while I was still principal. I knew so many of the families and students since they were in kindergarten, and I couldn’t bear to let them down.
After being in administration for several years, standing at the front of that room brought this sense of peace during a chaotic time. The students and families were so grateful for the time I spent in that classroom, and we were blessed to find a wonderful teacher for the remainder of their year. Later that year we found out that third grade had tremendous academic gains on our district and state assessments.
My teaching style and leadership style align with what I am most passionate about: Whatever is good for kids must be priority No. 1.
What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
I am the designated chef of my family and have become quite skilled. My new favorite kitchen necessity is the Instant Pot. Our family also enjoys freshly made juice and smoothies while we have family game nights or watch a movie. I love to dabble in essential oils and when I say dabble, I have more than I can count. I enjoy reading, spending time with my sister and nieces, and thrifting with my teenage daughter. Finally, I just joined the PTO at my daughter’s high school and serve as the historian.
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
I was born in Athens and lived there for four years while my father served in the Air Force. I’ve lived in Maryland, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Kansas before settling in Arizona.
My move to Arizona, ironically, resulted from the hundreds of teaching applications I submitted on the East Coast. I had the most difficult time finding my first teaching job even after receiving my master’s degree. My parents had retired in Arizona years earlier, and my mother knew of a position for a sixth grade reading teacher. After a phone interview with the administration, I was hired! My husband, 1-year-old daughter and two cats took the long trek from Pennsylvania to Arizona.
Still to this day, I am amazed and feel incredibly blessed at the journey that has brought me from sixth grade teacher, then elementary teacher, to reading specialist, adjunct faculty, school administrator and now full-time faculty at GCU. It was arduous along the way, but I would never change any of my experiences because they taught me to never give up on my dreams.