TENNERTON – Erin Anderson, who was the Upshur County Teacher of the Year and is the 2021 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, was recognized for her accomplishments Friday at Tennerton Elementary School by the West Virginia Professional Educators.
W.Va. Professional Educators Executive Director David Gladkosky, W.Va. Professional Educators State President Jacqueline McDaniels and W.Va. Professional Educators Recording Secretary and County President Beth Post presented Anderson with a plaque and gift.
“We are so excited for Erin,” Gladkosky said, adding that Erin is a member of the WVPE.
“I know you have upcoming celebrations coming up with the West Virginia Department of Education, and we just wanted to come and be with you and present you with a gift card and a framed copy of our newsletter which offers congratulations to you on being selected as the 2021 Teacher of the Year.”
Gladkosky offered congratulations to Anderson, adding that Anderson would be a beacon for West Virginia as she travels around in the coming year.
“You are going to make us proud,” Gladkosky said.
During Friday’s recognition, Anderson said even with her new duties, she is still doing what she loves best – teaching 25 fifth-graders.
“With Upshur County being fully remote, I am meeting daily with my class on [Microsoft] Teams,” Anderson said. “I bring students in for hour-long tutoring sessions, and I plan and post assignments, grade work submissions, and provide feedback as necessary.”
Anderson said during the ‘in-between times,’ she is collaborating with her co-teachers and co-workers.
“We are learning together how to best serve our student population. Our staff is closer than ever, and I am truly thankful for the people I work with,” she said. “We push each other when needed and support each other when needed. We pray, laugh and cry together.”
Along with being a teacher and specifically the West Virginia Teacher of the Year for 2021, Anderson is a wife and a mom. She said those two jobs requirements have not slowed down this year either.
Moving forward, Anderson said she has a lot to do and prepare.
“I am submitting a proposal for a presentation during the National Educators Rising Conference,” she said.
Another date she’s looking forward to is Jan. 12, 2021.
“During the State of the State Address I will be recognized,” Anderson said. “The next day, I will be presented with the 2021 Toyota!”
Anderson said she had several friends who have expressed that they are sorry she is being recognized for this achievement during such hard times. She said she disagrees and feels this is the perfect time to be celebrating this award.
“I tend to, as a choice, see the good in everything,” Anderson said. “The way Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus, superintendent of Upshur County Schools, said it was, ‘we have challenges, but they become opportunities.’ The opportunity to reflect has been really good, but the opportunity to inspire is equally as good. Right now is such an important time for our profession – teachers are dropping.”
“I think we are down one-third with people going to college to be teachers, but for us right now, we need to do this right and set the tone for those who are watching us,” she added. “There is power in that role and responsibility to make our profession appealing in this time.”
Anderson will represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year competition, which usually announces their top finalists in January. The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers and identifies exceptional teachers nationwide, celebrates their effective work in and outside of the classroom, amplifies their voices and empowers them to take part in policy discussions at the state and national levels, according to their website at www.ccsso.org.