Peggy O'Neal Anderson
SC/Ft. Stewart/Cuba District Teacher of The Year
Peggy Anderson, of Diamond Elementary School, Fort Stewart, Georgia, has been teaching elementary school children for 25 years. Sixteen of those years have been with the Department of Defense. Her experience includes work with second, third, and fourth graders in regular education and with gifted children in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Currently, she is the coordinator for gifted education and school wide enrichment for Diamond Elementary School.
Ms. Anderson earned a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and an educational specialist degree from Georgia Southern University. She has served as an evening graduate instructor for Brewton Parker College, Armstrong Atlantic State University, and Savannah State University. In addition, she helped develop the early childhood daycare curriculum at Southeastern Technical College. She is an active member of several professional organizations including Association of Curriculum and Supervision, Georgia Association of Gifted Children, and Phi Delta Kappa International. Ms. Anderson is also involved with annual Red Cross Blood Drives, Relay for Life Cancer Drives, and the Glennville Sweet Onion Festivals. Her leadership positions include Director of the Fort Stewart Children's Theatre and the Director of the Diamond Elementary Performers.
At school, she serves as a benchmark co-chair for school-home partnerships, and works with the DODEA task force for gifted education. In efforts to serve parents, she is a group leader for the annual Parent Academy for Fort Stewart Schools. She has been trained in gifted identification and testing, multiple intelligences, and methods of improving study skills. Finally, Ms. Anderson has participated in extensive technology training and leads the school in technology integration.
Ms. Anderson has two children, Neal and Gena, and one grandchild, Hanna. She lives in Glennville, Georgia.
"I believe that every student is capable of learning and should be provided an opportunity to learn through a variety of teaching styles. Maintaining high expectations for all children and providing them with opportunities to succeed are two important objectives I strive to master."
Kathy Moore Bearden
Kentucky District Teacher of The Year
"I believe that the best teachers are those who address all learners as individuals. It is imperative that teachers know the learning styles of their students. In order to be successful as educators, we must find the strategies that work best for each child and build upon them."
Georgia / Alabama District Teacher of The Year
"My task as an educator is to teach life skills through critical thinking. I believe that all children can contribute to the quality of their lives and the lives of others if given a chance."
Betty A. Garren
South Carolina District Teacher of The Year
As a school-wide enrichment teacher, Betty believes that creativity and imagination in young children must be developed and nurtured. Throughout her teaching career, Betty's most rewarding contribution has been her ability to find talent in every student and celebrate that talent by allowing each child to experience success. Betty's diverse teaching career includes experience in the classroom and in talented and gifted programs in grades pre-K through 9 in several states as well as in DoDDS Europe. She also teaches in graduate and undergraduate programs at the university level. A teacher for 25 years, Betty received her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.
"Today's classroom is a turbulent setting of diverse personalities, experiences, interest, talent, and cultures. Teachers must celebrate diversity within the classroom and create opportunities that allow every child to feel successful."
Mary Ann Harde
NC-Fort Bragg District Teacher of The Year
Though born in North Carolina, I grew up in Peru and India. The world was my classroom in a unique way. I became acutely aware of the wonders each culture has to share pieces of a puzzle that make up our world. I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers at home and in school.
In high school I volunteered my time to work with the young people at Mother Teresa's Home for Unwanted Children in Old Delhi, India. The children were sponges for affection and knowledge. Watching self-confidence grow as skills were developed was so exciting. The pathway to a career in education was a natural one. I have taught eighteen years. I assisted in special education programs and taught first grade, second grade, gifted education and technology.
I am always setting new goals and exploring new avenues. Not a day goes by when I do not grow by combining my past experience with what I am learning in my present position as an educational technologist. I take every opportunity to share my enthusiasm for learning with my students.
"As facilitators, teachers need to remember that schools are an important component of society, not a separate entity. Everyone has a stake in education. By soliciting the interest and involvement of parents and the community, our schools can provide a much more solid education for our young people."
Mary Elizabeth Hetter
NC-Camp Lejeune District Teacher of The Year
Reaching back to my earliest thoughts about becoming a teacher, I would say that the influence of my mother and inspiration of many wonderful instructors are what caused me to initially think about and later pursue a teaching career. They instilled in me a love for learning and a commitment to the value of lifelong learning that have been the driving forces in my own teaching career.
Both of my parents valued education greatly and instilled this in me as well. My mother, in particular, guided me in the direction of teaching by her own example as she taught me things at home from the time I was a very small child. Once I entered school my mother ensured that I developed a sense of responsibility for my own work and assignments and helped build my self-esteem through encouragement and caring. Of equal importance, she also taught by example a great respect for the teachers providing me with my education.
As I went through school, I had many wonderful instructors who had a great influence on my life and career decision. They provided an example and inspiration that no words could match and generated in me a motivation for learning that caused me to seriously think about wanting to do the same for others. I admired the dedication and knowledge held by these teachers, as well as the manner in which they were able to convey the material to students. I hoped to someday be able to do the same.
Once I entered the teaching profession, I continued to grow and learn as I looked for resources and models of teaching excellence provided by outstanding peers. Early in my career, my attention was particularly captured by a peer who seemed to be able to generate a great amount of respect, diligence and motivation from her students. Watching her closely caused me to analyze my own ideas and methods and refine them to the level of teaching that I so wanted to reach.
I bring to the profession a style of teaching that combines knowledge, caring, commitment, high expectations, acceptance of individual differences and an honest belief in the abilities of students. My own excitement for what I do challenges me to seek out the best methods and activities to meet the individual needs of my students. I regularly evaluate my effectiveness through self-evaluation, student achievement and both parental and peer feedback. I am aware that my teaching must adjust as needed to reflect the differing needs of students and research findings about education.
I feel a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment when I see my students utilize a skill that they previously couldn't; see them get so excited about a topic that they come in the next day with an armful of library books they've found because their interest was piqued; have parents come in and tell me that their child went home and talked to them about the unit we were involved in; or get a "high five" from a student who has finally caught on to a concept, happily announcing, "Now I've got it! This is fun!" Then I know that I have made a difference in the lives of children.
Children need to realize that learning can be fun and exciting and each should feel important, worthwhile and successful. When children leave my class they take with them knowledge and memories that should make them want to continue learning throughout their lives.
I have made a difference when I have done everything in my power for every student within my care to educate them and instill in them a love of learning. My contribution to education is and will continue to be my absolute determination and commitment to lifelong learning.
"One of my greatest responsibilities as an educator is to prepare students for the roles they will play in the future by helping them develop their own unique talents and abilities. We must provide students with the skills and tools for obtaining knowledge they will use throughout their life."
Amy M. Kostelnik-Insley
Kentucky District Teacher of The Year
My desire to teach began when I was a sixth grader. I read to a first grade class and knew I was meant to be a teacher. I pursued this interest through high school by getting involved in church camps, being a teen advisor to 5th graders, and with a career internship program working in the Ft. Knox schools.
I then attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. I was recruited by Frederick, MD schools after graduation and began my career teaching 2nd grade. I relocated and began teaching with Baltimore County Schools where I taught 1st grade for 7 years at Cedarmere Elementary in Reisterstown.
During this time, I was recognized with a Chamber of Commerce Award of Excellence and as a semi-finalist for Baltimore County Teacher of the Year. I also wrote science and social studies curriculum, supervised student teachers, and presented professional development activities.
I am currently teaching at Pierce Primary School at Ft. Knox, Ky. I am part of a looping program where I teach 2nd grade and will then take my class to 3rd. I have worked on reading curriculum and a peer coaching team. I have presented professional development in reading/language arts.
I am excited to be representing Ft. Knox in the TOY program and hope to use this opportunity to spotlight the many outstanding things happening in our schools! I hope we can build a bridge between the schools and the community.
"Just as mentors have helped me, I feel it is important to share my talents and my ideas with co-workers so they, too, can achieve success with their students. Learning to work together is just as important for adults as it is for children."
New York / Virginia District Teacher of The Year
Jim Pearson, of Quantico Middle/High School at Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia, has been teaching for 15 years, all of which have been with DoDEA. Jim is the son of a naval officer and as a child attended a DoDEA school. After receiving a Bachelors of Science in History and Social Sciences from James Madison University, Jim accepted a position at Quantico. For the next 12 years Jim taught a variety of Social Studies courses in grades 7 through 12.
In May of 2000, Mr. Pearson earned his Masters Degree from George Mason University in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Integrating Technology. Jim has also taken a variety of other technology related courses from the University of Virginia. In 1997 Jim was selected as one of Quantico's representatives at DoDEA's Presidential Technology Initiative in Aviano, Italy. It was at this time that Jim caught the "technology bug." Later that year Jim applied to fill the vacant Education Technologist position at Quantico Middle/High School.
Jim has served as his school's ET since and in this position he has led teacher training on using existing and emerging technologies as ways of easing administrative task and more importantly enhancing the learning experience of students. Mr. Pearson is a firm believer in the constructivist approach and the important role technology plays in this philosophy.
Mr. Pearson currently lives in Prince William County near Washington, D.C. He is married to Sheila Pearson, a DoDEA teacher at Quantico, and has two daughters, Emily and Rachel. When away from the computer, Jim's interests include reading history and many outdoor activities from birding to fishing. Jim and his family enjoy traveling, but he maintains that his experiences as a DOD child make him determined to keep Virginia as his permanent home.
"I believe teachers need to relinquish the traditional role of "information giver" and take on the roles of assistant, guide, and evaluator. My job in the classroom is to provide the opportunities and information, through activities, that will assist students in creating their own knowledge."
Helen L. Wall
Georgia / Alabama District Teacher of The Year
"In order for the learning process to take place, a teacher must provide a safe environment. The classroom must be a setting where children feel free to take chances, to be wrong and try again. Teachers must consider learning as a journey, not the acquisition of a set of facts."