EARLY — Amanda Ellett wanted to be a teacher from the time she was a child.

But Ellett — who is this week’s Teacher of the Week — didn’t reach that goal in a straight line.

The Robert Lee native ended up earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Angelo State University, then went on to earn a teaching certificate through alternative certification.

After teaching for two years in Big Spring, Ellett is in her second year at Early Elementary School, where she teaches fourth-grade reading.

Her husband, Reed, is a life skills teacher at Brownwood High School. The two have a 1-year-old daughter, Adeline Ruth.

“It’s a God thing,” Ellett said. “It really is. I had started thinking about education that last semester of my master’s degree. I went and talked to human resources in Big Spring where my brother worked, because my brother is also a teacher. After talking to them for a couple of hours, a third grade science social studies position fell in my lap. I feel like I’m where I should be, where I belong as a teacher.”

Ellett said her grandfather taught auto mechanics at a high school in Ector County, and her grandmother worked as a school secretary. But her grandparents did not encourage her to enter education.

“Ultimately you can’t really help what the heart wants,” Ellett said.

“As a kid I always played school. Anytime anybody asked me what I wanted to do it was either teacher or nurse.”

But it was psychology, not education, that Ellett pursued in college, and she minored in criminal justice. “I’ve always been fascinated with people in general and how the brain works,” Ellett said.

As a college student, Ellett’s goal was to work in the prison system and help rehabilitate inmates to become “productive members of society instead of getting out (of prison) and then going back in,” Ellett said.

Ellett’s decision to enter education was “an outgrowth of where I was heading,” Ellett said.

While teaching in Big Spring, Ellett met her future husband, who taught in the same school. “We just kind of hit it off, being teachers at the same school,” Ellett said.

Reed’s family is from College Station, her family is from Robert Lee. After deciding to marry, the two looked for a half-way point as a wedding location. They discovered the Star of Texas Bed and Breakfast in Brownwood and chose that as their wedding site.

“We fell in love with the area when we got married here,” Ellett said. They believed it would be a great place to raise children and started exploring job opportunities. “Things just kind of fell into place,” Ellett said.

Referring to her husband’s job as a life skills teacher at Brownwood High School, Ellett said Reed has “always had a heart for special needs. I don’t think he would teach anything else beside special ed. He just has a heart for it — so compassionate. He is able to connect with them so well.”

Ellett said she loves teaching in Early, where, Ellett said, she experiences the support of parents, the community and co-workers.

“I can’t stress enough the God thing,” Ellett said. “It feels like a family here. It doesn’t feel like a job or work. You’re coming to your second family. It’s the way I feel almost every single day.”