CSU to Host National Teacher of the Year March 18-19

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Andrea Peterson, the 2007 National Teacher of the Year, who’s noted for an effective cross-curricular approach to teaching music, will visit Columbus Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18-19. An elementary school teacher from Granite Falls, Wash., Peterson will share insights with Muscogee County and Fort Benning teachers, plus Columbus State University education majors.

Her visit, coordinated by CSU’s College of Education, includes:

• Breakfast, including a brief presentation for CSU education majors, 7:30-9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Cunningham Center’s Blanchard Hall

• Open forum-question and answer session for CSU students and media representatives, 9:45-10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Cunningham Center’s Blanchard Hall

• Fort Benning elementary school visit, 1:30-2 p.m. Tuesday, site TBA

• Fort Benning elementary school visit, 2:30-3:15 p.m., Tuesday, Faith Middle School

• Muscogee County School District Teacher of the Year Breakfast, 7:30-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy

• Tour of CSU’s Schwob School of Music, 10-11 a.m. Wednesday, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

Peterson is the 56th recipient of the national honor, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. The council cited Peterson’s “community focus, teamwork with other teachers, and a desire to see all students succeed.”

In local press coverage, Peterson’s superintendent credited her for establishing a music program that’s “an integral part of the basic education program” at Monte Cristo Elementary School.

In addition to introducing auditioned choirs, performances and bands to her district, Peterson has drawn credit for creating a cross-curricular music program. For example, one exercise involves students reading a novel, then selecting Broadway music they interpret as appropriate to the story. Next, they use software to compose an accompaniment soundtrack, and, meanwhile, they continue to study the novel with their classroom teacher for a more comprehensive understanding of the story and how it relates to the real world.

Born in Canada, Peterson became a permanent U.S. resident in 1981. She gained citizenship in 2004, saying her greatest motivation was to be a political advocate for education, one who could vote for initiatives, such as school district finance levies that she supported and promoted. She also is active with the Northwest Wind Symphony, made up of professional educators, musicians and community leaders in the greater Washington and Oregon area.

For more information about Peterson’s Columbus visit, call 706-568-2212.