Ehrgott wants her children to believe in themselves

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kristy Ehrgott wants to be there for her students as a counselor and an educator each day.

The fifth grade St. Francis Xavier Elementary School teacher was chosen as the Teacher of the Year for the school.

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Erhgott said she enjoys teaching math the most, and said finding patterns is what math is all about. Using math in real life situations is also a way she keeps the students interested.

“I love being able to take the concepts and engage the children using real life problem solving,” she said. “I believe that math is a concept that we all use daily and should be embraced, not simply a course to endure.”

When Erhgott teaches science, she said she makes sure her lessons on math and science overlap. Recently she taught solids, liquids and gases in science, at the same time she taught volume in math.

Integrating technology in the classroom on a daily basis is important to her. Each student in the elementary school has access to an iPad. Students in her class used the devices before the holiday break for a webcast to learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The iPads can be used for research, she said, and have helped her students learn about other countries and chart space exploration.

“The world around us is truly at our fingertips,” she said.

Seeing her students succeed is her favorite part of being an educator. Whether its succeeding in her classroom or doing something new they never thought they could do before, she feels good seeing her students happy and healthy.

“It can be immediate, they might do well on a test or they might get something they were struggling with, but sometimes it’s years later when you see that they have finally realized they are good at that subject. You knew they were, but it took them a while to figure it out,” she said. “They were afraid to try before, but now they’re confident and successful when they find their little niche.”

Ehrgott has her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology from Mississippi State University and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Southeastern Louisiana University.

She aspired to be a high school guidance counselor, but when she moved to Louisiana, she was required to teach for three years before she could work as a counselor and instead got a job teaching.

She started her career in Louisiana teaching kindergarten at Central Private in Baker for one year and fourth grade at Seventh Ward Elementary in Denham Springs for six years. Then she came to Vicksburg and spent a semester tutoring at Beechwood Elementary before starting at St. Francis, where she has been for the past 13 years. 

Ehrgott chose to stay in the classroom as a teacher instead of switching to a counselor position because she felt she could still counsel students in class every day.

“I teach because I love seeing children becoming independent learners believing in themselves,” she said.

Ehrgott is a lifetime member of the Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg, Crawford Street United Methodist and the National Catholic Educational Association.

Twenty-one teachers in Warren County were nominated for teacher of the year. The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce has selected a panel of educators to interview each school’s chosen teacher and will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year on Feb. 15. Both teachers will receive $1,000.

Today’s story is the seventh in a series of articles on each teacher up for the honor of the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year.