Hannah Ellard

Just three short years ago Hannah Ellard was a senior at Terrell High School.  Now, at the age of 21, Hannah is a fourth grade math and science teacher at Gilbert Willie Elementary.  Thanks to the district’s dual credit partnership with Trinity Valley Community College, Hannah graduated from high school with her Associate Degree, tuition-free and ahead of her peers.  

“I knew that I was going to have to pay for college myself,” shared Hannah.  “Enrolling in free dual credit classes while in high school not only helped me to save money, but it has also helped me to jumpstart my life.  I’m 21 years old with a career!”    

Terrell High School has had a long-standing dual credit partnership with Trinity Valley Community College for years.  Students have the opportunity to take college classes, free of charge, while enrolled in high school and earn both college and high school credit simultaneously.  With the average cost of a public four-year university now at $25,000 per year, two years of free college equates to a  savings of $50,000. 

After high school graduation, Hannah attended Texas A&M University in College Station and majored in sociology.  During her senior year, she interned at an elementary school and fell in love with teaching.  “I realized that teaching is what I wanted to do,” she said. “I was able to make connections with students and I realized that I could make a difference in someone’s life.” 

In July, Hannah received a call from Gilbert Willie Elementary principal, Angela Abrams-Malone, and was invited to interview for a teaching position.  She was offered the job on the same day. “I was excited, scared, and nervous all wrapped up into one.”  

At the beginning of the school year, Hannah shared that there were times when she felt overwhelmed as a first-year teacher; however, she was quick to point out that the support she has received has been outstanding.  Another fourth grade math teacher, Mrs. Van Genderen, and her instructional coach, Mrs. Judie has helped her every step of the way. “The support I have received has been a 10 out of 10.” 

A few short weeks ago, she was able to experience her first “lightbulb” moment as a teacher.  “I have this one student who has struggled with their multiplication tables and when the lightbulb finally went on in their head, it was so incredible to watch.  I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I actually taught them something!’” 

This past Friday, Hannah received her first paycheck as a teacher and she could not contain her excitement.  “I am so excited to make big girl money,” she shared.  And, at just 21 years of age, Hannah Ellard has a bright educational future ahead of her - maybe even a superintendency.