Life is busy for top teacher

Six months ago, Andrea Peterson was in the White House Rose Garden being recognized by President Bush as the nation’s Teacher of the Year.

Since then, life hasn’t slowed down much for the energetic music teacher from Monte Cristo Elementary in Granite Falls. She spent a couple of minutes recently answering a few questions on her way to another speaking engagement:

Q: Where have you been in recent months?

A: Where have I not been? I have hit about 30 to 35 states. I’m in Washington, D.C., several times a month. Next month, I will be in Japan for 10 days. I am there as a guest of the Japanese Ministry of Education. There will be lots of school visits, going to see different programs in elementaries and high schools … Just to give you an idea of my schedule between now and then I’ll be in Atlanta; Kentucky; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; Ohio and then back to Washington, back to Washington, D.C., and Florida. It’s a little crazy. What happens in the new year is hard to say.

Q: How has your life changed since becoming a mom and being named national Teacher of the Year?

A: How has it not changed? One day you are in Washington, D.C., getting picked up by a limousine and being treated like royalty practically and then you are sitting in your house with your daughter who just spit up on your shoulder. I treasure every second that I have with her. No one could be prepared for the joy being a parent brings to a person. The fact that I have had to be away from her has made me realize how much I treasure the time I get to spend with her.

Q: What has been the most interesting experience you have had?

A: Back in July, I was in Philadelphia, speaking to the NEA (National Education Association) national assembly. There are like 10,000 people in the audience.

The president of the NEA comes and joins me on the stage. He starts talking to me like we are having a conversation. He talks about how he likes to talk to his former students, who he sees sometimes at the national convention, how it gets him excited … And he said, “You know when I look at you I don’t think you are even old enough to have a teacher here” and then he points over the far side of the stage …

There is a former student from my first year of teaching at Granite Falls High School. She’s an ag-science technology teacher (in Eastern Washington). She came across the stage and she was so kind and said such nice things about me. I go to so many places and to see someone from home, and to see someone I think so highly of, and to see her there, that is incredible.

Q: What have you learned so far this year?

A: One thing I have learned is just how many people there are in the country who really care about America’s children … In the classroom, you can be very isolated as a teacher. I just don’t think we know how many organizations and people out there who are interested in helping kids achieve. That’s been such an eye opener to me.

Q: Are you finding any new ideas?

A: I will demand more of my students than I have ever before. And I think I hold my students to a high level already. I have seen how imperative it is that kids leave school with an understanding of what excellence looks like and how they go on to be successful if they have that.

Q: Are you looking forward to getting back to your classroom next year?

A: Without question. I went into Monte Cristo last week. It took me about two seconds of seeing the kids to say I think I want to stay there … I miss those kids and I miss doing what I love. That’s where my heart is. But what an amazing opportunity this year has been.

— Eric Stevick

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Everett
Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

Granite Falls
Man, 35, dies from heart attack while hiking Lake 22

The man suffered a heart attack about 1½ miles into the 6-mile hike east of Granite Falls on Friday, authorities said.

36 hours after final show, Everett radio host Charlye Parker, 80, dies

When Parker got into radio, she was a rarity: a woman in a DJ booth. For the past 12 years, she hosted weekend country music shows at KXA.

Homeowners Jim and Chris Hall stand beneath their new heat pump, at right, inside their Whidbey Island home on Thursday, Sep. 7, 2023, near Langley, Washington. The couple, who are from Alaska, have decreased their use of their wood burning stove to reduce their carbon footprint. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County to start ‘kicking gas’ in push for all-electric homes

Last year, 118 Whidbey Island homes installed energy-efficient heat pumps. A new campaign aims to make the case for induction stoves now, too.

Dr. Scott Macfee and Dr. Daniel Goodman outside of the Community Health Center on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett CHC doctors, feeling like ‘commodities,’ speak up on ailing system

At the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, doctors say they feel like “rats getting off a sinking ship.” They want it to get better.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man charged with shooting at ex-girlfriend, child in Mountlake Terrace

The man, 21, showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and opened fire through the door, new court records say.

People walk along Olympic Avenue past Lifeway Cafe and Olympic Theater that currently hosts Lifeway Church on Friday, July 7, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington churches waged covert ‘battle’ against Pride event, records show

Sermons, emails and interviews reveal how an LGBTQ+ nonprofit became the target of a covert campaign by local evangelical leaders.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.