Educator Of The Month: Stephanie Andrisse

St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal School


“Literacy and Justice for All.” So reads the T-shirt of St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal School teacher Stephanie Andrisse. The saying is perfect for Andrisse’s teaching philosophy. One of her colleagues gifted her the shirt for Christmas. Her students asked the meaning of the phrase.

“I explained to them that to me, it means that literacy is justice,” Andrisse said. “Knowing how to read and write is freedom, and in a just world, every child would be literate.”

That’s what the third-grade educator – who has taught at St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal School for seven years – is working toward every day. Before St. Martin’s, Andrisse taught English language arts for two years with Baltimore City Public Schools. Prior to that, she taught for three years in the Ferguson-Florissant School District near St. Louis, Missouri. At some point in her career, she has taught every grade from first to fifth.

After morning announcements, her class starts reading. Lately, Andrisse’s class has been reading and analyzing poetry, which is one of her favorite things to teach.

“I love watching children read a poem once and not ‘get it,’ but then we read it again, discuss it, and their eyes get big and they say, ‘Oh! I get it now! It’s saying…,’” Andrisse said.

Students aren’t only reading and analyzing poetry; they’re writing their own. Each student has written several poems for their own poetry anthology. They’ve practiced using similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, alliteration and rhymes in their poems. Her class also studies spelling patterns. They discuss root words, affixes, ways to spell different sounds and which sound-spelling correspondence is the most common.

Andrisse also loves teaching science.

“We learn how to predict the weather based on the clouds we see in the sky, why animal and plant babies look like their parents, and all the fun experiments you can do with magnets,” Andrisse said.

Heather Bosanko, lower school coordinator and Andrisse’s supervisor, explained how Andrisse is the kind of teacher who truly engages her students.

“She makes the art of teaching look easy, and her warm personality allows her to make a connection with her students that helps them to demonstrate confidence, compassion and character,” Bosanko said.

For the third-grade teacher, her work extends outside the classroom. She’s co-coordinator of the diversity/equity committee, which began in 2017 based on staff members and Andrisse’s passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and belonging (DEIJB).

Andrisse explained how the committee presents professional development and provides resources to staff on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We believe that every child, family and staff member that comes to St. Martin’s Episcopal School should not only feel accepted but loved and celebrated for who they are and the unique perspective they bring,” she said.

Additionally, Andrisse is on the school’s admissions team. She helps determine if their school is the right fit for families and students.

“It is so important to ensure that we can meet the needs of prospective students and families,” Andrisse shared.

Andrisse has been in the same classroom for all seven years, which is somewhat unheard of for teachers.

“I came and stayed because I loved the close-knit community,” she said. “I love being in a small school that values both teachers and children as individuals.”


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