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Teachers of the Year: Lissa Pedersen
Teachers of the Year: Lissa Pedersen
Posted on 05/23/2018
Leicester Elementary School art teacher Lissa Pedersen poses with two students who hold masks they made in her class.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Leicester Elementary School art teacher Lissa Pedersen believes her role in the school is to show children how to access their creativity.

“Art gives them an external reality to something they feel inside,” she said. “I give them a space where they get to do things they don’t get to do anywhere else.”

Pedersen is Leicester’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, and at the May school board meeting she was named Erwin District Teacher of the Year. She has been teaching art at Leicester for almost seven years and also teaches art at Woodfin Elementary School. Before that, she taught in New Jersey and New York City. She also has experience as a professional working artist. Her work experience and rigorous classroom curriculum create an artistic space where students shine.

“My room is filled with children interacting with each other, talking in the vocabulary of art, and reflecting on their feelings and what they’re trying to achieve with their art – independent of me telling them what to do or how to feel,” Pedersen said. “Then it becomes a real art studio.”

Leicester Elementary Principal Chad Upton said Pedersen demonstrates a wonderful mix of creativity and an analytical mind.

“I think about words like ‘dynamic’ and ‘cerebral,’” he said. “She does so much planning and really drills down to find out what each child needs to be successful. The children can find out something about themselves, who they really are. She encourages them to explore and think, and the way she does it really makes the kids want to be involved.”

Pedersen is one of seven classroom teachers selected as a district teacher of the year out of the 1,700 teachers in the BCS system. She and the other six district winners will be featured in an upcoming special video produced by the BCS Communications Department. One of the seven district winners will be selected as the overall BCS Teacher of the Year.
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