New choice programs director finding her way at ECISD

Amy Hosick, Ector County ISD’s new executive director of choice programs, access and support. (Courtesy Photo)

Amy Hosick, Ector County ISD’s new executive director of choice programs, access and support, is no stranger to West Texas.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., her mother is from Abilene, so she spent a lot of time in Abilene, Midland and Odessa.

“I went to grade school (in Midland) and then I graduated high school in Hobbs, N.M.,” Hosick said.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from College of the Southwest (now University of the Southwest) in elementary education with an emphasis in mathematics. She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas State University in San Marcos and her doctorate in educational leadership from Texas Tech University.

“I have a passion and love for the Southwest. I love the big skies and the open plains. … I remember taking my first Southwest literature course and Southwest art course. The time there really inspired me. So that’s one piece of it, I really wanted to get back to the Southwest at this point in my career, and then also the opportunity to grow and learn through a great leader like Dr. Muri,” Hosick said.

Referring to Superintendent Scott Muri, she said he is known throughout the state as having “very innovative and strategic programs and initiatives. I wanted to be a part of working for a superintendent who was aligned to state initiatives and learn as much as I could and help support the work.”

Only on the job since July, Hosick was director of strategic evaluation systems and support, overseeing the Teacher Incentive Allotment program at Waco ISD. Waco has about 14,000 students.

In that position, Hosick got to reward the high-performing teachers in the district.

“Part of my job was collecting data on the teachers who were eligible and I also helped build out the program so that more teachers could become eligible over time. And we were really proud that approximately 98% of our teachers in that district were eligible for TIA,” Hosick said.

She added that the city and the region is known for having “really nice people.” A lot of people will ask why someone moves here and she tells them the people are great.

“Even in my interview, it was stated, we may not have a lot to do in our area, like parks and lakes and things like that, but the people are what make this area so great. That makes you feel good. … People are what make I think this region really special,” Hosick said.

She added that she always knew she wanted to go into education.

“My grandmother, on my mother’s side, was a teacher in the Wiley school district in Abilene. She worked in Merkel and Wiley. I grew up helping her every August decorate her classroom. I just have really fond memories of when we would go to visit her in Abilene,” Hosick said.

“During the holidays, if we ever were at grocery stores or at the mall or in public events, even at church, people would come up and say your grandmother was such an influence in my life. I had her as a teacher. I definitely think that made a big impact on me at an early age, so I always knew I wanted to go into a profession that gave back to the community. I always babysat. I did a lot of work with youth groups growing up and just knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she added.

The math specialty came about because she had some “really inspirational math teachers” specifically in high school. Her teachers helped her realize that having a math background could help her and it was something she should pursue because the subject came easily to her.

“When I was working on my education degree at College of the Southwest in Hobbs, I would substitute teach … When I went to middle school, specifically, the students would tell me, you teach math so great … so it gave me a lot of inspiration to become a math teacher,” Hosick said.

Starting as a middle school math teacher, Hosick worked her way up, although it was never her goal to go into administration.

“I never had a strong desire early on to be an administrator. I had a principal in Round Rock, who … was just a very dynamic principal, and was a great role model. She pulled me aside and said, Amy, I see leadership capabilities in you; (a) very strong desire to be a leader and I want to help develop a view as a leader because we need strong, specifically, middle school principals. I was reluctant at first, but she just kept pushing me. I helped her build out advisory programs; I helped her build master schedules. I … was really involved in the school as a whole and was curious how school works and so she was my inspiration,” Hosick said.

She added that it’s opened a lot of doors for her to have a greater influence on families.

“I applied for this job specifically, because I believe in my heart that families should have choice and options that align to student interests. This particular job interests me because there already is this portfolio of choices that families have, and I want to be able to positively contribute to expanding that, helping support that and getting to know what … programs would align to … workforce demands and the superintendent’s strategic initiatives. I want to support that process, giving families choice,” Hosick said.

“We’re looking at the possible expansion and growing some of those current programs that are in high demand,” she added.

If the bond passes Nov. 7, there could be expanded opportunities for those in-demand programs.

Because she’s new, Hosick said she arranged tours of the campuses.

“My first task will be to get out and walk the campuses with the principals so that I can see … teaching and learning happening,” Hosick said.

Her next step will be to see what families want in terms of choice schools when applications open up then working with principals to see where classrooms, or seats, can be added if there is a strong desire for a certain program.

“That will be part of my job is to do some analysis this fall and in the early spring on balancing capacity and families’ desires for certain programs and seeing if there is the possibility of expansion,” Hosick said.

Hosick has a son who is a sophomore at Texas A&M University. He is majoring in computer engineering.

Associate Superintendent of Student and School Support Alicia Syverson said ECISD is fortunate to have a high-caliber leader like Hosick leading the department of Choice, Schools, Access and Support.

“In her 28 years in education, she served 13 years as both a middle school and high school principal in Austin ISD. During that time, she developed and launched an innovative choice middle school program that expanded to a high school program under her leadership. As you can imagine, this required a tremendous amount of community work to identify the needs in the school community in which she served. Middle school choice options are needed in this area, and Dr. Hosick has the skills and talents needed to change the landscape of choice for our families across every ZIP code in ECISD,” Syverson said in a text message.