A music teacher in Washington state was named the 2007 National Teacher of the Year at a White House ceremony today.
Andrea Peterson, 33, a music teacher for the 500-student Monte Cristo Elementary School in Granite Falls, Wash., began teaching in the 2,300-student Granite Falls school district in 1997 when little funding was available for a music program. She appealed to the superintendent, principals, the school board, and her community to provide financial support for instruments and new technologies to improve the program.
During her 10 years at Monte Cristo Elementary, Ms. Peterson has helped establish two elementary school choirs, a musical-theater program, a high school choir, a jazz band, and a marching band. She has also introduced an eight-week cross-curricular program for students to use music to explore what they have learned in other classes.
As National Teacher of the Year, Ms. Peterson will take a one-year sabbatical from her teaching job and travel around the United States to speak about the role of the community in improving education.
“You need to hear from the whole community” to improve schools, Ms. Peterson said at today’s ceremony.
The award is given by the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers and sponsored by Atlanta-based ING U.S. Financial Services.