Anita Roberts, third- and fourth-grade teacher at Lake City Junior Academy (LCJA) in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, was presented with a national award at the close of the 2011–2012 school year. The award includes a $2,000 gift and a medallion.
Roberts was among 10 teachers selected this spring by the Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) to receive a 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. The AAF is a foundation that supports Adventist schools in North America.
"If you were to ask Anita Roberts what makes her exceptional in her field, she would look at you questioningly," says Ron Jacaban, LCJA principal. Roberts does not feel that she has "made it" to the top of her field, although many would argue otherwise. "It is a daunting task to compile the numerous ways Anita has brought excellence to our school," Jacaban explains. "Her attitude has shaped the culture of our school, resulting in an enrollment increase over the past several years."
"We consider her 'best in class,' so to speak," says Larry Marsh, Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) vice president for education.
Inspired by her personal journey of losing 200 pounds, health instruction is a key component of Roberts' mission. She has designed the Fitness Expedition: Project Healthy Kids curriculum that promotes a lifestyle of exercise and nutrition for her students. The curriculum is also available through Walla Walla University.
In the classroom, Roberts has an experiential learning philosophy that makes learning fun and effective. She takes her students to many exciting destinations, such as the Spokane Symphony, Carver Farms, Kellogg Silver Mine, historic Cataldo Mission, IMAX films, and a hands-on art pottery studio.
Roberts' Book of the Month program is a highly anticipated experience for students at LCJA. Students get to choose a character from their books and present from those characters' perspectives. "The art, writing and presentation skills learned provide a solid foundation for future success," says Jacaban.
Roberts was chosen to be one of UCC's lead teachers for the new Pathways language arts program and was responsible for training other teachers in the conference about how to implement it.
"I wanted to change the world and begin the change in my classroom," Roberts says. "I deem it a privilege and honor to serve my Savior in an Adventist school."
Nominated by principals, superintendents, colleagues and former students, 10 teachers were honored across the nation by the AAF for the impact they have had in their local Adventist schools.
AAF is a nonprofit organization working to improve Adventist K–12 education. It has awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to Adventist schools and educators. Since its establishment in 1995, the organization has recognized 106 exceptional teachers with an Excellence in Teaching Award.