Newsmaker: Andrea Peterson

By Glenn Cook

Andrea Peterson describes herself as a “real day-to-day kind of person,” one who prefers to take on multiple projects as they come, deal with them, and move on to others. It’s how she has built an acclaimed music education program in Granite Falls, Wash., and how she views the next 12 months of her life.

And that’s a good thing, considering what the next year has in store for this first-time mother, who gave birth in late March and in late April was named as the 57th National Teacher of the Year.

“I really tried to live every day as it came,” Peterson says of the judging process, which included a meeting with representatives from 15 education organizations (including the National School Boards Association) by teleconference. “If you start to think about the future, you could really stress yourself out beyond words.”

The National Teacher of the Year program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, is sponsored by the ING Foundation. Starting June 1, Peterson will be on the road for up to 200 days as she serves as a national and international spokeswoman for the profession. Her husband, Joel, and her parents will take turns helping with Peterson’s newborn daughter, appropriately named Faith.

She spoke with Editor-in-Chief Glenn Cook the day before she and the other state teachers of the year were recognized at the White House by President Bush.

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