Getting through that first year is a challenge for any teacher. Sierra Anthony’s first year teaching had the added complication of coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic.
As someone who had wanted to be a teacher since she was in second grade, it certainly wasn’t what she had envisioned. During the 2020-21 school year, she experienced every model – hybrid, in-person, fully online – teaching first grade at Knapp Charter Academy, which has outperformed the local district for 13 years.
Anthony just finished her third year at Knapp, and still is enjoying the unpredictability each day. She was honored as an Excellence in Teaching winner as part of the National Heritage Academies (NHA) Excellence Awards for the 2021-22 school year.
Anthony got her look at NHA schools through a partnership program during her time at Cornerstone University. She liked how the classrooms were run, the curriculum structure, and the way teachers’ needs are met across the board. Her time at Knapp has reinforced those values.
“(At Knapp, we) have a wide variety of ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds,” she said. “It brings a fun variety and environment to the classroom with so many kids from different stories, different walks. The staff is amazing.”
Angie Spears, Knapp principal for the 2021-22 school year, said Anthony is gifted at building strong relationships with her students. Spears praised Anthony for her positive outlook while holding her students to a high standard in a caring way.
“Continuing that relationship I’ve had with kids in the past is my favorite part of my job,” Anthony said. “I can teach the ABCs and addition and subtraction all day, but the relationships are what keeps me here.”
Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Anthony!
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Knapp Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes over 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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