Anderson named state TSA Teacher of the Year
It was no surprise that Neshoba Central engineering teacher Sedera Anderson was named Mississippi Technology Student Association Teacher of the Year after her students captured 58 awards at the state competition.
Thirty-three students brought home first-place awards, 19 received second-place awards and six earned third-place awards. They competed in teams and/or individually in 18 categories, ranging from debating technology issues and coding to forensic science and cybersecurity.
The students are enrolled in engineering and digital media classes at Neshoba.
Shannon Broom teaches digital media while Anderson teaches engineering at Neshoba.
The state competition was held virtually this year. The group will compete on the national level later this summer.
Anderson said the students had to use technology and their own creativity in designing their projects.
The competition also required them to have portfolios, which included step-by-step outlines of their work with pictures throughout.
The students used the Solid Works drawing program, 3D printers and other tools to design board games.
The Technology Student Association is a national organization of students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Mississippi Association falls under the umbrella of the state Department of Education.
Superintendent of Education Lundy Brantley lauded Anderson’s commitment.
“Mrs. Anderson truly deserves this award,” Dr. Brantley said. “She is so committed to growing her students every day.”
Neshoba Central High School Principal Jason Gentry was also excited to learn of Anderson’s recognition.
"We are very proud and honored to have a teacher of the caliber of Mrs. Anderson at NCHS,” Gentry said. “She deeply cares about her students and is always looking for ways to improve her program and NCHS as a whole. It is a great honor for her to be chosen as TSA Teacher of the Year!"
Anderson was excited about her recognition but her students’ accomplishments brought her the most pleasure.
The Neshoba County native and 1987 graduate of NCHS, worked as an engineer for Peavey Electronics for seven years before coming to Neshoba Central first as a volunteer and later as an algebra teacher. This is her fourth year teaching engineering.
Her students speak with pride about their teacher and feel blessed that she shares her knowledge with them as their facilitator.
“She is very informative,” said Neshoba TSA Chapter President Damien Clark.
Anderson got Clark interested in engineering when he was in her algebra class.
“She was telling me that she was going to be head of the engineering program the next year,” Clark said. “Engineering sounded interesting to me so I decided to give it a try.”
Clark joined his junior year and found it to be “the most amazing thing because I’ve always been a hands-on person. We got to build robots the first year and we did coding.”
Now a senior, he admires Anderson because of her knowledge in the engineering field.
“She knows what she is talking about because she was previously an engineer herself,” he said. “She knows a lot about many different things. She likes to stay on us and makes sure we get our tasks done in a timely and correct manner.”
Clark and many of his classmates look up to Anderson because she is eager to learn new things along with her students.
“She’s very curious,” he said. “She is constantly learning with us. We are getting our national certification and she is learning with us to also get certified. The same thing goes with her and our OSHA certification.”
Clark captured first place awards in the state TSA competition in Chapter Team, Technology Bowl and Cybersecurity.
Anderson enjoys watching her students utilize their creativity.
“I am in awe of them when they show me a video game that they created or something else,” she said.
Anderson’s students are quick to note that she is not one of those teachers who will hand out material and then sit down at her desk.
She is more of a facilitator who guides them in the right direction.
“I want them to figure out what they love and what direction they want to go,” she said. “There are so many diverse interests in the engineering program.”
They touch on many areas of engineering including mechanical and civil throughout the two-year course.
Anderson attended East Central Community College and Mississippi State University where she earned in degree in industrial engineering and a minor in math.
After working at Peavey, she took a break from engineering to spend a year at home with her two children.
“I kind of started volunteering at the school and I went back and got my alternate route certification to teach. I taught algebra for 18 years.”
While she loved those 18 years, it’s clear that her heart remains in engineering. When Neshoba added the program four years ago, she was the perfect fit.
“It just let me go back and use the engineering degree that I started with,” she said. “My priorities just kinda changed a little bit when the kids came along.”
Anderson’s work with teenagers doesn’t end in the classroom as she is also the youth director at The Sanctuary church.
“Working with teenagers is my calling in whatever capacity, at church, school, etc.,” she said. “I sometimes question my sanity with it but it’s my calling.”
She uses her talents and her “giving heart” to impact and change lives in whatever capacity she is led to.
“It just makes it fun to do it from a technology side,” she said.