A Southern graduate has once again been recognized for teaching excellence. Trudy Anderson, 6th Yr. ’99, was named the 2022 Teacher of the Year by the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL).
Anderson, who teaches Spanish to sixth to eighth grade students at Nathan Hall School, has served with New Haven Public Schools for 30 years, almost entirely at her current post. She earned a 6th Yr. Certificate in educational foundations through Southern’s College of Education.
The award places Anderson in an elite league. The NECTFL serves educators in all languages, at all levels from kindergarten through university, in both public and private settings. Each year, the NECTFL chooses its Teacher of the Year from among the candidates selected by the states in the Northeast conference region — which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Greater Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia. Anderson will represent the Northeast at the national competition in November 2022.
“This is a well-deserved award for an indispensable member of the New Haven Public Schools World Languages Department,” says Jessica Haxhi, department supervisor. “Trudy is a model teacher, engaging students in exciting lessons that build their real-world proficiency skills.” Anderson is known for taking an immersive approach to teaching. On any given day, her students might learn at small group “stations,” perform fairy tales for the kindergarten classes in Spanish, or explore Ellis Island during a unit on immigration.
“My students at this stage of development are hard-pressed to think about how they fit into the wide world, but life in our school has become much more multicultural,” says Anderson. “For example, they play videogames with kids from all over the world, and they think that’s a normal thing.”
Anderson — a Yale New Haven Teachers Institute Fellow who is regularly invited to present at education conferences — is a firm believer in ongoing professional development. “I think it’s important as teachers that we take our own learning seriously,” she says. “If there are opportunities being offered that can help us improve our work, I really do think we should take the initiative when possible.”
Graduates of Southern’s College of Education have long been recognized with state, regional, and national honors — among them, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Award presented to Jahana Hayes, who is now serving as a U.S. Representative for the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut.