Harvest Ridge Teacher Dione Anderson Selected as Regional Teacher of the Year

Posted on 07/28/2020
Dione Anderson receives award

Dione Anderson, a reading teacher at Harvest Ridge Elementary School, has been named a Regional Teacher of the Year by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). She was selected as one of 10 recipients in the St. Louis Region and one of 34 from across the state who are now eligible for consideration as the Missouri Teacher of the Year. Anderson was previously honored as the 2020 FHSD Teacher of the Year.

Anderson was humbled to receive the recognition and represent her school, as well as the community of Reading Recovery educators. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this experience and for the opportunity to share students’ stories of overcoming challenges to become successful readers and writers,” she shared. “This honor carries the fingerprints of so many students and educators who inspire me.”

Throughout her 27 years of teaching with the District, Anderson considers her greatest accomplishment to be empowering students to believe in themselves. Many of her students face difficult challenges, such as poverty, trauma, or limited English, which can affect their academic experience. Over the years, Anderson has learned that equity in education is critical. “It does not mean giving every child the same thing. It means giving every child what he or she needs to succeed,” said Anderson.

The beloved elementary teacher meets each student where they are, both in their academic life and their personal life. “She is a champion for kids,” said Harvest Ridge Principal Dr. Natalie DeWeese. “She pours her entire heart and soul into making sure her students are successful.” Anderson’s humble and kind nature has left a mark on her students and many smiles on their faces.

This is the fifth year of DESE’s Regional Teacher of the Year recognition; the program is designed to focus public attention on excellence in teaching and to honor classroom teachers across Missouri. Candidates are judged on how they are respected by students, parents, colleagues, and the community, and whether or not they play an active role in the school community and provide quality leadership among their peers. Recipients must be able to demonstrate a strong ability to foster excellence in education through improved student learning.

Anderson’s honor follows the recent success of Rachael Wilcox (first grade teacher at Independence Elementary School, 2020 Missouri Teacher of the Year Finalist) and Shelly Parks (English teacher at Francis Howell North High School, 2019 Missouri Teacher of the Year).

View Dione Anderson’s “What is my Why?” video that was presented at the St. Louis Regional Teachers of the Year celebration (video credit: Gary Lobstein, EdPlus).

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