Anderson picked as honored educator
Blooming Prairie sixth grade teacher Diane Anderson, now retired, always expected the best from her students, and she gave her best in return, claim her superiors.
"Diane cared about the students in her classroom and about every student in our school," remarks former Blooming Prairie Elementary School Principal Chris Staloch, now the BP superintendent.
Anderson will receive the 2019 Honored Educator award on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the annual Blooming Prairie Education Foundation Annual Banquet at the Blooming Prairie Servicemen's Club.
She is one of seven Blossom alumni to be honored on this special evening. Social hour begins at 5 p.m., dinner follows at 6 p.m. and the program is set for 7 p.m.
Anderson, who retired recently after logging 22 years as a BP school sixth grade teacher, was nominated by Staloch and by Julie Naatz, elementary school secretary.
Anderson, Blooming Prairie Class of 1972, graduated from Winona State University in 1976 with a degree in physical education and health.
She began her teaching career in LeRoy, teaching physical education and health subjects and coaching volleyball and girls track.
After taking some time away to spend with her young family and to help manage a family-owned business, Diane continued her education by returning to Winona State University pursuing an elementary education teaching degree.
Anderson started her elementary teaching career at the Medford Elementary School in 1988, teaching sixth grade and coaching volleyball.
She joined the Blooming Prairie Elementary staff in 1998, teaching sixth grade. Anderson coached B squad volleyball and headed up the Science Fair for 14 years.
She earned a master's degree from Southwest State University in Marshall. She has gained many recognitions and awards including Steele County Teacher of the Year in 2005 from Wal-Mart and the Distinguished Young Educator from the Jaycees in 2005.
"Wow!" That's the reaction of Diane receiving the award. "I'm humbled and grateful; it wouldn't have happened without the support of my colleagues, administration, students and parents who supported me.
"Teaching is not one of those careers where you can't do it by yourself; it takes a lot of working together."
Prior to her retirement in May, Anderson said she worked with a great community of people who work together for the benefit of students. "It goes beyond the school and it shows that we care for each other," Anderson added.
Anderson's nominators say her enthusiasm for teaching and dedication to her career was evident each and every day. She shared her expertise and years of experience with fellow teachers. She never shied away from a challenge and never tired of striving to provide the education she knew our students needed to succeed in life, said Staloch and Naatz.
Anderson had a way of drawing out the best in her students. She was also passionate that all should succeed, her peers said.
Staloch shared some thoughts for this nomination:
"Diane was highly professional in everything that she did. She challenged us to continually improve and never accepted just good enough. She had a way of challenging adults and students and made them want to live up to her expectations. Her expectations for our school and her students were very high.
"Diane, through her tough love, was able to bring out the best in others. Even though she came across tough, underneath was a truly caring person who would do anything for her students, co-workers and school as a whole."
Staloch said he learned many things from Diane. "I would not be the leader I am today without her. She challenged me to remember, to never forget where I came from (the classroom/teacher), to remember that we were here for our students, and that we (staff) always had each other's backs.
"Diane was great at building quality relationships with her students, co-workers and members of the community. She understood how important those relationships were to our school as a whole.''
Anderson's work and love for the students of Blooming Prairie did not end with her day of teaching, said Staloch. She served on the BP Ed Foundation and the education Foundation Auction committee, helping to raise extraordinary amounts of money to further the education of our students.
She and husband Butch, a skilled woodworker, helped to produce many sixth grade projects, as well as many others for the auctions. She also does quilting for the Quilts of Valor. She even has done some substitute teaching in her early retirement.
Anderson says retirement has its benefits and it can be relaxing. Time is different in a teaching mode where it goes moment to moment. "In retirement, I forget what day it is," she laughs.
She has four children: Jason, Janelle Stenzel, Phil Iacovino and JoAuna. She has four step children: Jeff Anderson, Craig Anderson, Becky Peterson and Todd Anderson.
Retirement has also given her time to spend with her 12 grandchildren.