October 2019 Winner - Anne Fisackerly:(Philadelphia High School)


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Meridian Star Article

PHILADELPHIA — After graduating from college with a degree in business administration, Anne Fisackerly thought she was going to work as an accountant.

"I had no intention of becoming a high school teacher," she said. "If you would have asked me when I graduated from Mississippi State if I would be a teacher I would have said, 'oh no'."

But over time, Fisackerly's plans changed, and she became a dedicated educator.

Fisackerly's commitment to her students was recognized on Oct. 9, when the senior English teacher at Philadelphia High School was named the Golden Apple Teacher for October during a ceremony at the school.

The Sebastopol native, who began her career in Chicago, has been teaching for a total of 10 years. She took a break from education to work in accounting and marketing, but returned to the classroom once her children were grown.

"I went back to teaching because that is what I loved," she said.

Fisackerly said she loves teaching high school students because of their energy, creativity and how they interact with each other.

"I feel like I get more out of teaching than giving back," she said. "It's always a gift to be with the students and how they respond to you when you are there."

In a nomination letter for the award, a colleague said that Fisackerly advocates for her students, often spending time on the weekends to help them. She also challenges her students to reach their full potential.

During the summer, she helps students prepare for the ACT through a program called Families First.

"I usually stay through into the summer to encourage and tutor those students until they can get through the Families First program," Fisackerly said.

She also helps students who have graduated with their course work in college.

"That's all that it takes," she said of her dedication. "Again, it's all about the students."

One of those students, Tanner Baylor, 17, said he didn't really like writing until he took Fisackerly's class. Now, with her encouragement, he's considering a career as an author.

"I never liked English that much," he said. "But she told me that I can really write."

Shaunacee "Shaun" Thomas, a senior, credited Fisackerly with helping her improve her ACT scores.

"She makes English easier for me," Thomas said. "She helped me pass the English part of the ACT."

Looking ahead, Fisackerly said she wants to teach for as long as she can. "I cannot imagine not teaching because it's so amazing," she said.