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Do you know about the Virginia Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI)?  The Virginia EIRI’s goal is to serve students in grades K-3 by helping reduce reading difficulties through early diagnosis and immediate intervention.  The initiative assists distri...

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February Instructor Spotlight

A University Instructors (UI) TutorEd Instructor for two months, Anna Burgess may be a rookie to the UI team, but is not new to teaching with forty years of experience under her belt.  Along with her impressive years of practice, Anna’s intensive education includes a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Education from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN.


Anna has been proud to call Tennessee her home ever since she can remember.  She was born in Putnam County, Tennessee, and began teaching grades 3, 4, and 5 at the age of twenty in her hometown.  She retired thirty-two years later in 2008, but knew her story was not quite finished.  Anna headed to her college alma mater and taught as an adjunct instructor from 2008-2016 in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.  She led the Teacher Education Program and taught a various number of courses such as Professional Seminar, Student Engagement, Introduction to Teaching/Technology, On-Line Instructor Learning Communities, Teaching of Math, Teaching of Social Studies, and Teaching of Science.


During her last semester teaching university resident students (those almost ready to begin teaching) in the Teacher Education Program, the class presented Anna with letters they had composed thanking her for “being their marigold.”  She was overwhelmed with emotion.  Marigolds cause others to blossom and grow stronger and it protects a wide variety of plants from pests and harmful weeds.  This one word “marigold” sums up what Anna says she has always tried to be – a motivator and encourager to students and new teachers.


In 2017, Anna took off from teaching to recover from a right knee replacement.  “While searching for a part-time educational opportunity during the fall of 2017, I found PCG – I think we found each other!  It was a true blessing.  I must thank Jessica DeBord, Program Coordinator, because she is an organizer extraordinaire,” says Anna.

On the reverse, Jessica cannot say enough regarding Anna and her new position. “Ms. Burgess works with high school students in various content areas in the Nashville area.  She is a wonderful instructor and it is obvious that the needs of her students come first.  Ms. Burgess is professional, punctual, and attentive to detail.”

Currently, Anna teaches grades 9 through 12 at two different schools in her home state of Tennessee.  She happily balances her time between Madison Academy High School in Madison, TN and Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, part of Metro Nashville Public Schools in Nashville, TN.  Anna says each school is equally as incredible. She claims the professional Madison Academy team welcomed her as if she had been with everyone from day one and Hume-Fogg is a powerhouse of learning with high expectations.

“Becoming a TutorEd Instructor has allowed me to bring my strengths into play as part of two new learning communities with their collective energy and creativity.  I am a passionate and compassionate educator.  Loving what I do not only makes a difference in my students’ lives, but within the school community and my own as well.  Getting into any classroom and interacting with the students continues to be my favorite part of teaching with UI and PCG.  It allows me time to actively engage with students in small group settings and the time to witness their successes.”

Anna with Jatavis, a Junior

Assessment of her students drives Anna’s instruction.  She believes assessment should provide opportunities for students to show their understanding of the learning objectives and makes it her goal to avoid assessments that only require students to repeat back information.  Her assessments are designed and adapted to measure how well students understand, not just remember, and apply what they are learning.  Formative assessments allow her to modify her teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment.  She focuses on giving quality feedback, rather than scores, to her students with focus on the details of content and performance.   

Anna believes a few of the most important things students should learn in the classroom are perseverance, self-control, rigorous thinking, a sense of accomplishment, and confidence in communication.

“Teaching has allowed me to spend a career cultivating a love of learning, and excitement becomes contagious in the classroom.  When a student’s world collides with other worlds, it’s magic.  I believe in magic!”

We would like to thank Anna for her constant commitment, enthusiasm, and leadership with students. We are lucky to have her as an instructor and could not be more amazed with her accomplishments.

University Instructors is a subsidiary of Public Consulting Group.

Article written by Summer Tarpley.