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Tennerton Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Erin Anderson won the Upshur County Schools Teacher of the Year Award, the Board of Education announced Monday. Anderson is pictured here at her home school.

Fifth-grade TES instructor Erin Anderson tapped as Teacher of the Year

TENNERTON – Each year, every school in Upshur County selects a Teacher of the Year who will represent the county at the state level.

This year, that teacher is Tennerton Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, Erin P. Anderson.

Anderson was named the Upshur County Teacher of the Year at Monday, the first day of National Teacher Appreciation Week, at a special recognition at Tennerton Elementary School.

Anderson was described as a well-deserving educator, student leader and a shaper of young minds. She has a myriad of training and experiences that have prepared her to be the excellent teacher she has become, according to a press release from the Upshur County Board of Education.

Anderson is deeply involved in teaching and in the extracurricular and leadership activities of her home school as well as an active member of her community, the release says. It goes on to note she exemplifies the characteristics of love, caring, commitment and concern that identify an outstanding educator.

Anderson thanked everyone gathered to celebrate the announcement, saying she thought she was attending a mandatory meeting.

“I am overwhelmed,” Anderson said, adding she wished she could hug everyone. “I was incredibly surprised to hear this today. I have been watching all the Teacher of the Year videos from all the other schools and was impressed with them. There are teachers who are retiring and some of them I had in school. I am just very surprised.”

Upshur County Teacher of the Year Erin P. Anderson receives congratulations from Upshur County BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples, Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus and Tennerton Elementary School Principal Tristen Gray as the announcement was made Monday at TES.

Anderson said she is finishing up her 20th year of teaching in Upshur County Schools.

“Tennerton is where I grew up. This is where I went to school. It is so overwhelming. My peers are seasoned teachers in the county, and they are an amazing group. I am honored to be their choice and Upshur County’s choice for Teacher of the Year,” she said.

Anderson said she couldn’t see herself anywhere else other than at school working with students.

“There is nothing else I can do; growing up, education was the only profession I was exposed to and that is how I got into education,” she said. “I watched all my teachers do what they do, and I wanted to do that. I just keep doing it because I love it, and I love my kids. I miss them being here, and I wish they were here to do this with me.”

She said the last couple of months have been heartbreaking for her.

“As fifth-graders, this is their final year in elementary school,” Anderson said. “We are trying to make sure they are ready for middle school. It has been heartbreaking not to have them in front of me; however, it is one I told them they will not soon forget. They are making history right now.”

Anderson said as lessons went on while children remained safe at home, she sent out a choice board, some digital activities and some non-digital activities; she looks forward to students sharing pictures with her, she said.

As far as education delivery in the future, Anderson said she believes the COVID-19 pandemic will help parents and teachers receive more credit for their hard work.

“I think parents see the work teachers put into each day,” Anderson said. “I honestly am interested in seeing how these last few months will impact education in the future. I think we will have a new normal.”

Anderson has embraced various leadership roles through which she assists her school, the Buckhannon-Upshur community and West Virginia. She has served as Faculty Senate Secretary, on the Title I committee, on the interview committee and the leadership committee. Anderson has served as the President and President Elect of the Upshur County Reading Council and as assistant volleyball coach at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

She is active in fundraising efforts with Tennerton Elementary PTO, the Upshur County Recreation Complex, the Splashers Swim Club and the Mileage Club, which encourages families to work together to be more physically aware.

While a member of the West Virginia Reading Association, she served as the director of membership for the state organization. Anderson is a recipient of the Darla K. Edgell ‘Excellence in Education’ Award and she is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, a national honorary organization for women in education.

Anderson graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a degree in elementary education and then attended West Virginia University where she obtained an M.A. in reading. She has taken advantage of professional development opportunities to enhance her effectiveness and those include PAX training, guided reading, Math4Life, Minds in Motion, Eureka Math, Safety Care and STAR Renaissance Learning.

Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said in her office, she hears about all the great teachers in Upshur County.

“Of course, that’s not the only way teachers become memorable,” Stankus said. “We have teachers here in Upshur County who are there for students with just the right words of encouragement when their students are ready to give up.”

Stankus said during the past month, everyone has had a time of reflection and one of her learned lessons is the realization of the importance of the relationship between a good teacher and his/her students.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a greater understanding that a teacher inspires students in ways we can’t quite measure, but we still know their value and worth is beyond measure,” Stankus said. “I have worked in education for much of my life, and I am honored to be part of this profession. I know that our teachers did not enter the profession for the money. They became teachers to make a difference in the lives of children and for the hard work you do each day, you deserve to be respected, valued and supported.”

Stankus said in the next decade, half of America’s teachers are likely to retire.

“We are in an important time in West Virginia where we must redesign the way we recruit, train and retain our new teachers,” Stankus said. “We are all in a place where we can understand the importance of honoring and respecting our experienced Upshur County educators.”

“Truly, teachers build our future!” Stankus added. “Again, I want to congratulate Mrs. Anderson as she represents all Upshur County Teachers in the state competition. We value and respect our teachers! #Upshur Strong!”

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