The Teacher's Desk

Jacquie's Gold Stars

Clip art image of a gold star

Each month I honor an individual, team, program, school, or piece of legislation that is helping to promote a quality education for kids. I welcome your nomination for this honor, and I will consider thoughtfully any name(s) you recommend. You can use the "Contact " link to make a nomination. Please explain why you think your nominee should be honored, and let me know how I can contact you for verification. And if you're one of a group that has gone the extra mile, tell me about it. It doesn't hurt to blow your own horn once in awhile. And besides, nobody will ever accuse you of bragging because I don't ever reveal the nominator's name.


November's Gold Star goes to...

Dr. Rita F. Pierson

TED Education Talks Lead Speaker
Houston, Texas

Rita Pierson: Every child deserves a champion:  an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.

Sometime in late spring 2014, while surfing the net, I happened upon a TED Talks youtube video done by Rita Pierson. I watched it, and then I watched it again. I knew I had found a gem.

Because I was so moved and because I wanted as many educators as possible to hear this remarkable woman speak, I chose to close each of my eight 2014 summer workshops with this video. I only recently learned that Dr. Pierson, age 61, had died unexpectedly on June 18, 2013.

Ms. Pierson, a professional educator since 1972, taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She was a counselor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal. In each of these roles, she brought a special energy to the role — a desire to get to know her students, to show them how much they mattered, and to support them in their growth — no matter how modest.

Throughout the past decade Ms. Pierson conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators. Her focus was on students who are too often under-served — the ones she referred to as "Under-Resourced Learners."

Rita Pierson will never make another public appearance, but her passion will be shared and her wisdom passed on not only to this generation of educators, but also to those who follow in our footsteps. Thank you, Ms. Pierson. Your example lives on.


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