“So many paths” for education majors, says award-winning Boilermaker Educator

“Being an education major doesn’t limit you to being in the classroom,” says award-winning Purdue Education alumna Lisa (Tylicki) Hanson (BA Elementary Education, ’97). “There are so many paths education majors can take – school administration, interventionists, education coordinators, even working for educational software companies. There are so many options.”

Lisa Hanson working on advanced math skills with her fourth graders at Northern Elementary School (Photo: Lisa Hanson)

Hanson teaches fourth grade at Northern Elementary School in Scott County, Kentucky, and received the 2022 Kentucky Education Association (KEA) Award for Teaching Excellence. This annual Teacher of the Year award is presented to a KEA educator who exhibits excellence in five critical areas of teaching—professional practice, advocacy for the profession, attention to diversity, community engagement and leadership in professional development.

Lisa Hanson

“Being recognized as the KEA Teacher of Excellence is truly humbling,” Hanson said. “I have poured my heart and soul into this career for 23 years, and to have my work noticed by others means the world to me.”

She will also receive the California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence in May 2023, honoring her dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

As a Purdue undergrad, Hanson studied elementary education and earned a computer education endorsement. Hanson fondly recalls her time as a student at Purdue and found her experiences in a communications class and service on Earhart Hall’s student government extremely helpful. “I was complimented quite often on my speaking skills and had no idea how easily it came to me,”[l1]  she said. “With this newly discovered skill, I was more confident in running for leadership positions within the residence halls.”

After graduating, Hanson taught for two years at Elkhorn Middle School before becoming a technology teacher at Garth Elementary. During this time, she received her Master’s in School Administration from the University of Kentucky.

“My goal was always to have my own self-contained elementary classroom,” Hanson remembered. “I served in the technology position before moving into my own classroom in 2003. I taught at Garth until 2021.”

Hanson’s dedication to innovation inspired not only her students but faculty as well, being one of the first teachers at Garth to use a Smartboard and serving as a valuable technology resource.

Hanson moved next to Northern Elementary. “I was ready for a change after walking through the same doors for 20 years,” Hanson remarked. “Northern is an absolutely fabulous school. The whole staff is focused on the students and really support you during difficult times.”

She found that Purdue’s teaching program prepared her well for the classroom with teaching methods in a wide array of subject areas and gave her varied field experiences in the classroom, especially teaching primary and intermediate grade levels.

“Teaching is an ‘on-the-job’ type of career,” Hanson said. “Studying materials in books is only skimming the surface of how to effectively handle a class on your own. I learned more by watching other teachers handle behavior issues and keeping students engaged.”

Her advice for current and future Purdue Education students?    

“I would like them to know that they shouldn’t let negative perceptions on education dissuade them because the positives truly outweigh the negatives. If you are truly passionate about being a teacher, then go for it and stay in it ,” she said. “When they say teachers make a difference, it’s really true. Stay positive about the profession and you will absolutely love your career choice.”

Source: Lisa Hanson,lisa.hanson@scott.kyschools.us

Writer: Rebekah DeMoss, rdemoss@purdue.edu