Sherlonda Anderson

Position: Math Teacher

School: PACE Center for Girls

School District: Polk County Public Schools

City, State: Lakeland, Florida

About the Nominee: Sherlonda Anderson was nominated by Xuchitl Coso, Executive Director for the PACE Center.

Sherlonda Anderson is a math educator who has worked hard to close the academic gap at the PACE Center for Girls. Many students in the program lacked the fundamental math skills necessary to withstand the rigorousness of their grade-level classes. However, in the nine months Mrs. Anderson has worked at PACE, she has guided three girls into satisfying their graduation requirements by passing either their Algebra 1 EOC or PERT Test.

Mrs. Anderson is a bit unorthodox in her teaching style. She differentiates her delivery and tailors each lesson to individual students, such as by dancing around the class when her students grasp difficult concepts. Currently, she teaches 7 different math courses ranging from sixth grade math to College Readiness. Since joining PACE, she has guided 66% of the students to increasing two or more grade levels on their STAR test. Although some of the students have difficulties in math, some have built enough confidence to peer tutor other students. These are the same girls who once were one or more grade levels behind.

PACE Center for Girls has a nationally-recognized, research-based model emphasizing academics and social service as a path to a better future for girls and young women ages 11 to 17. PACE’s gender-responsive culture provides a safe environment celebrating girls, and provides services that take into account how girls learn and develop, with staff who understand the lives of girls and can respond to their strengths and challenges. This teacher epitomizes PACE's mission statement: “PACE provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy.” She is the consummate encourager, champion and advocate for her students!