By: Jordan Cresswell (4th grade) and Bennett Cresswell (2nd grade)
Ms Andersen teaches First grade in Room 10. This is her ninth year at Candalaria, and it's the only school she's taught at. Former principal, Mr. Gertenrich, hired her right out of teaching school, and she's been here ever since. Her favorite subject to teach is reading, because once a student gets the reading bug then they're begging for books and staying up late to read. There's nothing better than seeing a reader take off because it just feels good to them. Ms Andersen’s favorite subject to learn is Spanish because it's a challenge for her.
Ms Andersen grew up in Salem and went to South Salem High School. After high school graduation, she went to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and later transferred to Oregon State University where she finished her degree. About 15 years later, she went back to Willamette University where she got her master's in teaching.
Before Candalaria, she worked for a school called the National Outdoor Leadership School, which is a hiking and wilderness school, in Wyoming and Arizona. Then she was a stay at home Mom when her son Tommy was younger, before she went back to school to get her teaching license.
Students often wonder why she walks around with pencils in her hair, and the reason is simple. She always knows where they are when she needs them and she has her favorite kind (Ticonderoga with erasers). Also, she knows that the pencils in her hair are germ free.
Outside of school, Ms Andersen loves spending time with her 14 year old son, Tommy. They play tennis together and enjoy biking and occasionally hiking. Her favorite activity is kayaking. Once, she went kayaking in Canada and would love to go back and do it again. She'd also love to kayak in Mexico and Hawaii one day.
Although she currently has 2 cats, Ms Andersen’s favorite animal is a dog. She has previously had Labradors, but doesn’t feel she’s home enough to have a dog right now. Her 2 cats are Wildfire and Milo. Her students all know that Milo doesn't have any teeth because he was allergic to them, and the veterinarian had to remove them. Now he’s getting along just fine and enjoys laying on the papers Ms Andersen brings home to grade.
When asked about her favorite superhero, she suggested a new one: “Book Girl,” who could magically show up and deliver books for kids whenever they need a new one. The Giving Tree is her favorite book. She loves that story and it still brings tears to her eyes, so much so that she has to have a friend read it to the class for her. Her favorite color is blue.
Ms Andersen loves being at Candalaria and thinks there's nothing better than being out in the community and seeing kids who recognize her from school. She said, “Candalaria is an amazing school where we have parents who support kids, and kids are happy to be at school and they work hard. It's a great school. Candalaria is fun. We work with amazing teachers. Everyone is happy and upbeat, which is infectious and helps kids learn.”
In the Spotlight
Over the course of the year, we will spotlight various teachers, staff, clubs and activities. Feel free to suggest a topic or person to spotlight!
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