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Emmetsburg Native Named District Teacher Of The Year

May 15, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

An Emmetsburg native has been selected for some special honors in Texas. Anna Peden was selected the Clinton Independent School District Elementary Teacher of the Year last month at a ceremony held at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Peden is the daughter of Angie and Lee Beem of Emmetsburg. She grew up in Emmetsburg; graduated Emmetsburg Catholic School, Emmetsburg Community School, Iowa Lakes Community College and the University of Northern Idaho.

After she graduated college, Peden accepted a teaching job in El Paso. "It was an adventure," she says. "To go someplace I've never been. And after two years, you can always go back" she has stayed for nearly 30.

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Her first job was teaching fifth grade. She taught fifth grade for five years, sixth grade for four years and then took a job in the Clinton district and has remained there to this day.

Peden currently teaches fifth grade at Desert Hills Elementary and is unabashedly biased toward this age group. "I love the kids, I love their attitude and I love the challenge," she says.

Peden is an advocate and practitioner of Balanced Literacy. This method of teaching reading involves the use of phonics, comprehension, language and reading. This hybrid approach allows students of varying comprehension levels to excel in the class. Peden says students at a higher reading level remain engaged while students at the lower levels do not feel bowled over by the material.

Peden says in order to be a good teacher, a person has to care about the student, about what is going on in that student's life, about what that student is going through. "If you show you care," she says, "the kids will reciprocate. They'll walk through a wall for you."

Peden credits her parents for making her who she is and for fostering her desire to teach. Her mother's parents never went beyond a fifth-grade education. This instilled in her mother a determination to succeed and, says Peden, forged her mother's no nonsense approach toward education. "You're going to get an education. Period," she recalls her mother saying. Angie Beem taught school for 34 years; Lee Beem taught English, speech and shop classes at Iowa Lakes Community College for 10 years.

Peden will compete for the regional teacher of the year later this year.

She and her husband, Chris, have a daughter, Kelly; the family lives in Horizon, Texas.



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