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Meet Emily Anderson, assistant principal at Anoka Middle School for the Arts and a graduate of Saint Mary’s Ed.S. program.

What do you love about your job? Your school? Your students?

I feel blessed to be a part of such a unique program in the public school system that provides students the opportunity to explore art courses in depth through advancing levels of ceramics, drawing, fabric arts, painting, band, choir, dance, music composition, orchestra, theater, digital productions, and creative writing classes. Our staff is amazing, providing rigorous and enriching academic instruction and student support. I love forming relationships with my students and their families. My students inspire me to continue to grow and improve. They deserve the world.

What kind of impact do you hope to make on your students?

I strive to prepare my students for success in high school and beyond. Middle school is a great time to make mistakes because there is still plenty of time to leave middle school with the realization that their mistakes are not what defines them; it’s how they learn from them and improve that matters most. I want each and every student to feel seen and valued as individuals and as members of our school community. I want them to know I love them and am here to support them in any way.

What drives your work as a principal?

The three words that drive my purpose are grow, serve, and impact. I place a significant emphasis on personal development and growth because I want to exemplify the value of lifelong learning and the power of embracing a growth mindset. I truly consider it an honor to serve my students and their families, my staff, and the Anoka community. I challenge myself to think outside the box and ask the hard questions, refuse to become complacent, engage in reflection, and continually ensure that we are doing the right work.

What was your graduate research topic at Saint Mary’s? Why did you choose it?

My research topic is about collaborative culture and the impact of using a pineapple chart to increase voluntary peer observations. I selected this topic because I believe teachers can learn so much from one another. There is an unbelievable amount of cool stuff happening in classrooms that other teachers are not aware of. I am passionate about encouraging teachers and staff members to work together and learn from each other so we can best serve our students.

What is something significant you learned during your time at Saint Mary’s? How did the Ed.S. program contribute to your success?

I appreciate the flexibility and commitment of my advisor. She was my biggest cheerleader. As a mom of five busy kids, I was nervous about enrolling in the Ed.S. program while also working full time, but I found that the program was created for real people. I learned that doing a little bit every day was better than doing nothing. My advisor kept me motivated and moving forward.

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