Chalkboard Champion Tevester Anderson: High school biology teacher and basketball coach

Often talented high school coaches become accomplished college-level coaches. This is certainly the case with Tevester Anderson, who spent two decades as a high school biology teacher and basketball coach and 16 years as an assistant coach at the college level before landing his first position as a Division 1 Head Coach at the age of 61.

Tevester was born February 25, 1937, in Canton, Mississippi. In 1962, he earned his bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine from Arkansas AM & N University, now known as Arkansas at Pine Bluff. In 1971, he completed the requirements for his master’s degree in biological science from North Carolina AT&T State University.

Tevester decided against a career in medicine and instead accepted a position teaching biology and coaching basketball at Canton High School, where he worked from 1962 to 1971. From 1971 to 1980 he taught at Fulton High School. As a high school coach, he was a pioneer in helping integrate high 
school sports. “I learned you can save just as many lives as a 
coach and a teacher as you can as a doctor,” he once said.

Later, Tevester worked as an Assistant Coach at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, as an Associate Coach at the University of Georgia, in Atlanta, Georgia, and, finally, as a Head Coach at both Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, and Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. During his time as Head Coach at Murray State, Tevester led his team to an overall record of 103-52 with two Ohio Valley Conference titles and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. During his ten-year tenure at Jackson, Tevester led the Tigers to an overall record of 149-170.

This chalkboard champion retired in June, 2013. “We sincerely thank Coach Anderson for his contributions to Jackson State University,” commented Vivian Fuller, acting Athletic Director for JSU. “He is truly a professional in collegiate athletics.”

Ten-year-old Dalton Sherman asks the question, “Do you believe in your students?”

As educators all over the country ready for another school year, we are undoubtedly contemplating our role as a teacher, advocate, and role model for our kids. Here is a keynote speech from a young man just ten years old who asks the question, “Do you believe in your students?” You’ve got to see this!

Teacher, feminist, and environmental activist Ruth Chickering Clusen

Clusen_9Throughout our history, many accomplished educators have also distinguished themselves as civic leaders and political activists. Such is certainly the case with Ruth Chickering Clusen, a high school teacher who also served as the president of the League of Women Voters and as an assistant secretary in the US Energy Department.

Ruth Chickering was born in 1922 in the little town of Bruce, Rusk County, Wisconsin. Upon her high school graduation from Eau Claire, she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Even before graduating from college, Ruth was working as a teacher. She spent her first two years teaching on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Montana, and she taught in public schools in the Green Bay area from 1947 to 1958.

Ruth met her future husband, Donald Clusen, when he was interviewed by her father for a teaching position at the old Wisconsin School for Boys in Waukesha County.They married a few years later, and settled with their two daughters in Green Bay, where Donald had accepted a position as a teacher at the state reformatory.

Ruth served as the president of the League of Woman Voters. She served in this capacity from 1974 to 1978. During those years, Ruth worked to bring environmental issues to national attention. She was especially concerned with water purity, particularly the condition of Green Bay, where water pollution was pervasive. Ruth also campaigned for women’s rights, working tirelessly but unsuccessfully to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. During the election year, she moderated debates between candidates Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

Once Carter was elected president, he appointed Ruth Assistant Secretary of Energy, a position she held from 1978 to 1981. There she worked to reduced fossil fuel consumption at the Energy Department. For her efforts, Ruth was inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame in 2001.

After leaving the Energy Department, Ruth returned to her roots as an educator. She became a member of the Board of Regents for the University of Wisconsin, where she worked from 1983 to 1992.

This chalkboard champion passed away March 14, 2005, in Bellevue, Wisconsin, from complications due to Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 82 years old.


Substitute teacher and award-wining sports newscaster Drew Esocoff

Talented substitute teachers can also be considered chalkboard champions. A superb example of this is Drew Esocoff, a major network sportscaster who has also worked as a substitute school teacher.

Escoff_Drew-150x150Drew was born in 1957 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. As a teenager, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School, an all-boys institution, where he graduated in 1975. The school incorporated a local all-girls school in 1977 and was renamed Elizabeth High School.

Following his high school graduation, Drew enrolled in Colgate University, a private liberal arts university located in Hamilton, New York. There he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1979. During his college years, Drew worked as a substitute teacher at his alma mater, Elizabeth High School, where he earned money to pay his college expenses. One of his students there was New York Jets football coach Todd Bowles.

After his college graduation, Drew  worked as a sports commentator and program director for ESPN and ABC, serving as the director for such national programs as Monday Night Football, Sports Center, the NBA Finals, Triple Crown horse racing programs, and five Super Bowl broadcasts. Drew’s work has not gone unnoticed. He has won eleven prestigious Emmy Awards for his television work.

Drew currently lives in West Redding, Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

Former Nazi youth leader chooses new life as patriotic American school teacher

6a00e5537b38b68833013488768362970c-800wiSometimes individuals who have the most amazing personal stories become examples of remarkable educators. One such example is Maria Anne Hirschmann, a former Nazi youth leader who became an honored American educator.

Maria Anne Hirschmann, popularly known as Hansi, was born in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. As an infant, she was abandoned and raised in a foster home. When Nazi troops invaded her country in 1938, they travelled the countryside testing all the local children, even those who attended the little one-room school that fourteen-year-old Hansi attended. The child was selected to be sent to Prague to be trained as a Nazi youth leader. “For the first time, somebody actually chose me, ” Hansi once remembered. “I was the poorest kid in the village, so I could not expect to go on to high school or college. Now I thought I had caught the rainbow.” Brainwashed, the youngster pledged her allegiance to Adolph Hitler. When Germany was defeated in WWII, Hansi, by then nineteen, spent several difficult months as a prisoner in a Russian communist labor camp. One day, she simply walked out of the camp, expecting to be shot. The shot was never fired. After spending several weeks exposed to the elements, with only herbs and mushrooms to eat and sleeping under trees or bridges, Hansi found herself in American-occupied West Germany. In 1955, she immigrated to the United States with her husband and two children. In America, Hansi learned a deep appreciation for her adoptive country and came to embrace the American philosophy of freedom. She became a naturalized citizen in 1962.

Settling in California, Hansi enrolled in Pacific Union College, a Seventh-Day Adventist institution located in Napa Valley. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and psychology. Then this amazing woman became a teacher in Riverside, California, and earned distinction with her work with troubled teens and high school drop-outs. She established a cooking school for boys, instructed remedial subjects, and taught arts and crafts courses.

Hansi also authored several books. Her best-selling volume is her autobiography, Hansi: The Girl who Left the Swastika. The book has sold more than 400,000 copies in English, and has been translated into many other languages, including Russian and Polish. Her life story has also been adapted in the comic Hansi: The Girl who Loved the Swastika, published by Spire Christian Comics.

This chalkboard champion has earned honors from the Daughters of the American Revolution American Medal and the Distinguished Service Citation from the International Christian Endeavor Society.