Saint Augustine, FL, USA
Field: Composition and Literature
Anne M. Stasiewski is best described as a team leader throughout her 58-year career. She worked with three elementary schools as principal (for a total of 17 years) and also worked in the central office. Prior to that, she served as the supervisor for language arts and reading for the City of Norwalk (where she was in the position for five years) and as a K-12 educator on the subjects of language arts and reading. After she retired from the education system in 1986, she started OWL Associates, a consultancy for teachers.
Ms. Stasiewski earned her doctorate in education (ABD) from the University of Bridgeport and both her master of science and bachelor of science from Central Connecticut State College. She is certified in Connecticut for positions as a K-12 teacher, principal, intermediate supervisor and superintendent of schools. Ms. Stasiewski is the former president of the Business and Professional Women of Connecticut. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Phi Delta Kappa and a life member of the National Education Association.
Conversation with Anne M. Stasiewski
Who’s Who Publishers: What would you like to promote most about yourself or your business?
Anne M. Stasiewski: As an educational consultant, I am approachable, easy to talk to and non-judgmental. Nobody that I know of ever felt that they couldn’t approach me. That comes from being a member of a seven-child family. I have received many letters, particularly from high school English teachers, thanking me for not criticizing them when they communicated their experiences to me. The elementary school teachers I worked with considered me a colleague.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
Watching children and teachers grow and flower. I have seen youngsters who came to the school clutching their parents’ coattails. They were so shy, their parents were sure they would never be able to function. Long before the year was over – usually by the midterm – these same youngsters would go down the hall saying hello to everyone. I also have a great appreciation for people who are academically talented, because I was. Often, those children are looked upon as “eggheads.” My experience was to foster them and thus nurture their talents.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I taught an entire class of gifted children for a year during my teaching. It was the most demanding job I ever had. There were more than 20 pupils and it felt like I had 20 individual classes in there, because they were so bright. These children learn so easily that there is a danger that they could become lazy. From that experience, I learned that you must help them to stay challenged and to have incentive. I was able to take what I learned from working with that gifted class and apply it to every child. I had such wonderful resources and extra help that most teachers don’t have, that I thought, ‘more children would be gifted if they had this opportunity.’
As a professional, my greatest accomplishment to date was when I was a principal and I was asked to be the supervisor of English and reading and the acting assistant superintendent, simultaneously. That was a very demanding year. When I look back, I ask myself why I ever did it. Well, when you’re a teacher and somebody says, “Jump,” you say, “How high?”
What are your short term and long term career goals? What specific steps have you taken toward achieving these goals?
We need more workers than we need leaders. In addition to being a leader, I’m trying to be more of a worker. I have done work in the community as a guardian, Ad litem, for a youngster who had been taken from her parents and put in foster care. We remain good friends now. I also participate in church-related teaching activities and do workshops for professional groups such as Delta Kappa Gamma.
When you started teaching, what was the most difficult obstacle or challenge you faced in pursuit of your goals?
I think I expected more assistance than I received. I learned that I had to make my way. A supervisor is more an evaluator rather than a helper. So when I became a supervisor, the first thing I said to people was, “My job is to help you be a better teacher, so you help me to be a better supervisor.”
How do you stay current in your profession?
I’m a life member of the National Education Association and I read their publication, NEA Today. I do a lot with a wonderful organization called The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for women teachers. I’ve just been the local president and now I’m the parliamentarian because they said I know all the rules. We work with the Betty Griffin House and, through them, their children. The non-profit organization provides emergency shelter to abused women and their minor children and temporary shelter for rape victims in danger after the crime. We also support literacy at all levels and for all ages.
What makes you a valuable resource in your industry?
I’m current and available.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
There is so much pressure for teachers to do so much that they find themselves without the energy needed to get the job done. If we could help every child to become a self-directed learner, we would meet half our goals.
What advice can you offer fellow members who work in your industry?
Get as much rest and recreation as you can. You need to constantly rebuild your resources. Face the day with confidence that you will succeed because attitude is so important.
What are you passionate about?
Keeping our children, children. They are so affected by what they watch on television and in the movie theaters; they are being pushed into clothing and activities that are more sophisticated than they are. We need to do something to either enhance or inhibit what is coming through.