Top teachers

Marquette Area Public Schools Teachers of the Year honored

Top teachers and staff in Marquette Area Public Schools have been recognized for their achievements. From left are Ann Piereson, special education teacher at Superior Hills Elementary School; Sue Britton, an aide at Sandy Knoll Elementary School; and Lesley Addison, a guidance counselor at Bothwell Middle School. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Ann Piereson, special education teacher at Superior Hills Elementary School, and Lesley Addison, Bothwell Middle School guidance counselor, have been honored as co-Teachers of the Year for the Marquette Area Public Schools.

Piereson and Addison were recognized at Monday’s meeting of the MAPS Board of Education.

Superior Hills Elementary School Principal Bob Anthony talked about Piereson during the recognition ceremony. Her list of accomplishments is long, including being named Teacher of the Year at a Wyoming school and a state of Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2004-05.

“And here are celebrating Ann as co-Teacher of the Year of Marquette Area Public Schools,” Anthony said.

He said Piereson started at MAPS in 1995, making a huge impact right away.

“In her first year of teaching, she was teaching seniors how to read, and that has been a goal of hers,” Anthony said.

That goal, he noted, was to put herself out of work.

“She did a really good job at it because in a number of years she went from the high school down to the middle school, because once she taught her program to the middle school staff, fewer students were coming through needing the reading program at the high school,” Anthony said.

She also excelled at that level, which then allowed her to teach at the grade school level.

“Ann is not only an outstanding teacher, she is an outstanding person,” Anthony said.

For example, he said she told him that one of her senior students, who she taught how to read, went on to become a reading teacher in England.

“What a thrill that must be for her,” Anthony said.

Piereson also has coached boys and girls basketball, debate and forensics, among other activities.

“She’s done it all,” he said.

Piereson credited staff, like paraprofessionals and special ed peers, in getting the job done.

“It’s all about teamwork in special ed,” Piereson said. “You can’t do our job unless you have an awesome team around you.”

Zack Sedgwick, assistant principal at Bothwell Middle School, introduced Addison.

Addison started her career as a guidance counselor at Bothwell during the 1997-98 school year, and is finishing her 21st year at the school, he said.

She also is chairwoman of the MAPS Wellness Team, a member of the Bothwell Middle School Improvement Team and treasurer of the Marquette Area Education Association.

Sedgwick called Addison the “consummate professional.”

“She has proven herself an amazing leader at the building and district level,” he said. “She’s been the frontrunner for many school and district initiatives proposed to promote student success.

“Mrs. Addison is hard-working, compassionate, honest and intelligent. She’s a trusted advocate for students in every possible way and a much-respected person in our community.”

However, what he considers the most unique and impressive about Addison is her compassion for kids.

Sedgwick has first-hand knowledge of that, noting she isn’t afraid to voice her disagreement with him on an issue.

“She isn’t afraid to make a stand for what’s best for students, and will go to any means necessary to ensure their needs are met,” Sedgwick said.

Addison said being a former student, parent and staff member in the school district is “pretty cool.”

“In my leadership roles, I do spend a lot of time trying to be a better leader,” Addison said. “I try to be a better guidance counselor so that I can try to be a better parent.”

She too credited people on her “team.”

“Thank you for taking the time to notice when people do things well,” Addison said.

She pointed out that being an educator is not an easy job, but being acknowledged for her efforts motivates her.

“It’s often not a respected job or an appreciated job in our public eye,” Addison said.

Also honored Monday were Support Staff Person of the Year Sue Britton, an aide at Sandy Knoll Elementary School, as well as many retiring staff members, including Anthony.

MAPS Superintendent Bill Saunders said Anthony was hired in 1989 to teach mathematics at Marquette Senior High School. In 1996 he became assistant principal at MSHS, serving in that role until 2000-2001 when he started his 15-year run as principal.

“What a great run that was,” Saunders said. “Bob, aside from being the hardest-working man in Marquette schools — often starting his day between 4 and 5 a.m. and working past midnight many nights — was an innovator.”

For instance, he said Anthony started Plus One classes, freshman and sophomore teaching academies, and a seven-period schedule around the Michigan Merit curriculum.

“He did all this to ensure MAPS students were successful,” Saunders said.

Anthony then moved to Superior Hills during the 2014-15 school year, still starting work “before the sun rises,” he said.

“He spent nearly every morning the last three years high-fiving students, faculty and parents as they entered to start their day,” Saunders said.

As with the Teachers of the Year, Anthony mentioned the help he received from MAPS staff.

“We don’t do this stuff by ourself,” Anthony said. “We’re all support systems for each other.”