Erica Dillon, wife of fourth-grade teacher Tom Dillon, joins the Idyllwild Elementary School faculty as kindergarten and transitional kindergarten teacher.
Dillon taught kindergarten at Ramona Elementary School in Hemet, also part of the Hemet Unified School District, for 11 years. Both Erica and Tom recently moved to Idyllwild from Hemet, given their unified teaching assignments at Idyllwild Elementary. “This is the first time we’ll all be together as a family,” said Erica. She, Tom and daughter Sophia, 7, will all be part of Idyllwild Elementary. Sophia is in second grade this year.
In the past, Erica and Sophia had been at the same school, Ramona Elementary. Tom commuted daily from their home in Hemet to Idyllwild. Now the commute is over and the family is together, both at the school and as Idyllwild residents. “It’s nice to be at the same school with your family,” said Erica. The Dillons also have a 2-year-old son, Beau.
Erica is a 2001 graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and obtained her teaching credential from Azusa Pacific University.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher from the time I was a student,” said Erica. “I’ve always enjoyed school and saw the camaraderie among the teachers. I’ve student taught at other grade levels but my choice is kindergarten. There is so much buy-in and enthusiasm from the kids and general support from the parents.”
Asked what about teaching kindergarten most appeals to her, she said, “I like the scope of the progression of the student from the basics to more complex things, such as learning letters to the use of high frequency words. In kindergarten, you get to focus on the whole child and use your imagination to find ways to reach them.”
Erica described reading “The Gingerbread Man” to the children and then together making a gingerbread man. “And always, in the past, the gingerbread man would disappear after we made him and we would have to go looking for him. At my last school he would always wind up in the library. We’ll see this year where he goes.”
Of being part of the camaraderie of an elementary school faculty, Erica said, “Everyone works so closely together. You’re not a person alone in a cubicle.”