Brenda Anderson, acting principal at St. Lawrence School in Milbank, received her master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Sioux Falls at the Washington Pavilion on Sunday, May 19. Anderson said, “The South Dakota Department of Education allowed me to act as principal or assistant principal while I completed my degree.” Her reasons for pursuing an advanced degree were not confined to the regulatory, though. She said, “I believe professional development is one of the most important concepts an administrator can provide for staff. We challenge our students to learn new and exciting concepts every day. So, as educators, we need to challenge ourselves to be the best we can be.”
She went on to say, “Most of my classmates were from the Sioux Falls area and many of the classes focused on the needs of a larger school structure. The challenge for me was to take that information and make it practical and applicable for a smaller school setting such as St. Lawrence. Pursuing my master’s, also helped me to focus on the vision and mission we established for St. Lawrence School, which is to foster the spiritual and academic growth of our students.”
Anderson began working towards her degree in June 2016 and drove to Sioux Falls to attend nearly all her classes on campus at USF. She completed only three courses online. She said, “I prefer the face-to-face contact with my instructors and peers.” Looking back, she recalled, “It was interesting to balance my new position at St. Lawrence as principal and part-time preschool teacher, be a mother and wife, and work towards my degree. It was vital for me to stay organized on all fronts.”
The help she received from her family was invaluable, and, in their continued show of support, her husband, Bryan, and their children were cheering her on at the graduation ceremony. Her mother and three of her siblings were there, too. She said, “My cousin Stacy Stefan also received her master’s degree. So, my Uncle Loran and Aunt Cheryl Radermacher also attended.”
Anderson has achieved a goal she diligently worked to attain. She earned a new diploma to hang on her office wall. A job well done. But, as President Eisenhower was fond of saying, “Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination.“ Anderson agreed, “I feel as though I’ve been rewarded in so many ways through the process. This opportunity has allowed me to form many wonderful relationships with the students, staff, and parents of St. Lawrence School and also to be an advocate for Catholic education. I can’t imagine a reward more wonderful than that!
Pictured:Alexis Reich, Devin, Bryan, Brenda, Jake and Sarah Anderson