And Your Teacher of the Year Is… Ms. Erica Hiers!


Delia Neufeld

Winning Warrior: The Dubs chose Ms. Erica Hiers, IB Literature and Theory of Knowledge teacher, as their teacher of the year!

Fabulous, supportive, and a literature aficionado are some of the ways that the Dubs would describe their 2022-2023 choice for Teacher of the Year, Ms. Erica Hiers. Hiers has masterfully taught IB Literature and Theory of Knowledge classes at North Atlanta since 2011, while always searching for new ways to inspire students and show them where her passion for literature comes from. 

Surprisingly, Hiers never planned on becoming a teacher. She grew up in a family where teaching was a generational thing, and she wanted to be the exception. When she started at Berry College, she planned to major in journalism. However, Hiers had a transformative experience volunteering with an organization where she worked with the local boys and girls club. The time that she spent teaching the kids made her realize that teaching was extremely fulfilling. “I bit the bullet and realized that I am made to be a teacher,” said Hiers. “It’s something I tried to escape but couldn’t because I realized it was where my love, passion, and gifts were.”

Hiers thrived at Berry College and graduated with her teaching degree in 2000. Immediately after finishing college, she jetted off to China for a year to teach English to second graders in an international school, and then returned to Georgia to teach middle and high school English classes. Her teaching journey was soon interrupted so that she could pursue a new path: seminary. Hiers had always been interested in theology and felt that the timing was right for her to try something new. While she enjoyed seminary and everything that she learned there, it also reaffirmed her passion for teaching. “Taking time away from teaching in seminary made me realize how much I desperately missed teaching, and that’s how I ended up at North Atlanta,” said Hiers.

Hiers fell in love with teaching at North Atlanta because of the esteemed IB program, which she wishes she had as a student and sees as essential preparation for college. Hiers can design her own curriculum as an IB teacher and is, therefore, able to express her creativity and individualism. Although the extensive grading that IB requires isn’t Hiers’ favorite part of the job, she feels like all of the extra work is worthwhile for a program that doesn’t teach kids what to think, but how to think for themselves. Her favorite IB teaching tool is the book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote because the literary style is one that students often have not read before but thoroughly enjoy, and they develop better literary analysis skills because of it. Hiers calls this the “aha moment” and it is her favorite part of teaching. “I love to see students see something that they have never seen before or realize that the author made an incredibly clever choice,” said Hiers. “When a student has found a key to decode something that never seemed accessible before, it feels very rewarding.”

The Wire extends its congratulations to Ms. Hiers for winning this award. The North Atlanta community appreciates her so much and wouldn’t be the same without her!