Friday, April 27, 2007

The Nation's Top Teacher Meets The President

President Bush met with Washington State music teacher Andrea Peterson who has been selected as the "National Teacher of the Year:"
WASHINGTON -- Teaching is a family thing for Andrea Peterson, honored Thursday as the nation's top teacher.

The 33-year-old is a music instructor in Granite Falls, Wash. Her father, Victor Rahn, has been in the classroom since before Andrea was born. Two sisters-in-law and her mother-in-law are also teachers.

President Bush stressed those and other family connections as he saluted Peterson at a Rose Garden ceremony.

"When you come from a family of teachers, you tend to develop a lifelong appreciation of learning. And more importantly, it enables you to find creative ways to instill that appreciation in others," Bush said, with Peterson by his side.

"This is a family that really cares about good grammar," Bush added. "I probably wouldn't do all that well at the dinner table."

Bush said Peterson had told him that her father was her first role model. The president praised Victor Rahn at the ceremony, which was attended by nearly 200 people who braved threatening skies to celebrate Peterson's selection as the 57th national teacher of the year.

"We congratulate you on being such a fine dad that your daughter stands here in the Rose Garden as the national teacher of the year," Bush said.

Peterson said her father set an example that she has tried to follow for 10 years as a music teacher in tiny Granite Falls, north of Seattle.

"Generations of children are leading productive lives because Victor Rahn said, 'I care what happens to you. I'm interested in your life,'" Peterson said.

Her father, who teaches special education at Onalaska High School in Onalaska, Wash., provided countless examples of the difference a teacher can make in a student's life, Peterson said.

"A talented student is a teacher's ultimate reward. As a daughter, I'm his ultimate student," said Peterson, who graduated from Onalaska High in 1991. Her father never taught her in the classroom but did coach her in basketball.

Rahn, who traveled with his wife, Darlene, a librarian, and their extended family to the White House, called the award ceremony "huge - probably one of the high points of my life."

Andrea Peterson said she was thrilled by the award - especially the recognition of music at a time when many schools stress reading and writing.

"It's exciting that arts can be brought to a national spotlight," she said.

Peterson is only the second music teacher to be honored as the national teacher of the year.
Read all about President Bush, Laura Bush, and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' encounter with Ms. Peterson and all the other "State Teachers of the Year" at the White House.

It is to Andrea Peterson and all the hard-working teachers that she represents that we humbly offer our Red Apple Salute
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