Brigette Anderson has only been principal of Beach Elementary for a couple of months, but she has already integrated herself into the culture already established at the school, while also ensuring she leads in a manner that continues and furthers the academic, social-emotional, and culture of teamwork that is the foundation of Beach. Her goal is to keep Beach as one of the top schools in Mississippi and to provide students with a high-quality education, and make sure they know they are loved and celebrated along the way.
And, along with the start of a new school year and a new position, there are sometimes challenges to face, and for Anderson, that challenge is COVID-19. But that’s nothing she and the administration can’t handle as they find innovative ways to do school now by making adjustments to keep the students and staff safe while adhering to safety guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.
“We wear masks in the building unless we are eating. Before each meal and after recess and PE, we wash hands. We have social-distancing paw prints in the hallway and in the cafeteria to help remind students to social distance. We also check temperatures when students and staff enter the building. We use hand sanitizer many times throughout the day. And our high traffic areas, classrooms, and restrooms are cleaned and sanitized many times a day,” said Anderson.
Recently, Beach celebrated Grandparents Day by hosting a drive-thru event. Grandparents were given art projects made by students and the PTSO provided grandparents with a sweet treat. It was a day filled with smiles from grandparents, students, and staff.
Anderson attended Mississippi State University for her undergraduate degree and William Carey University for both graduate degrees. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business, a Master’s degree in Elementary Education, and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership.
Prior to her new position, Anderson taught reading, math, social studies, and science for six years in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District. She taught 4th and 5th grade at Jackson Elementary for five years and 4th grade at Martin Bluff Elementary for a year.
Then she became a lead teacher, which was the second administrator in the building, much like an assistant principal, for PGSD for five years. She recently spent her time at Gautier Elementary and has been a lead teacher at Singing River Academy, College Park Elementary, Martin Bluff Elementary, and Cherokee Elementary.
Anderson always wanted to be an educator because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. In fact, the children were her favorite part about teaching.
“I love children! I loved when students had that “light bulb” moment. It is so amazing to see when they finally understand what they are learning. I loved, and still love, celebrating successes with students. We celebrate often. There is nothing like a student coming to me and telling me ‘I did it’ with a huge smile on their face,” said Anderson.
The most challenging part of teaching is all of the time teachers give to teaching.
“We spend time planning the perfect lessons, grading papers, looking at data to determine which students did not master certain objectives, attending professional development, meeting with parents, and making hands-on activities for students. Teaching is definitely not an 8-hour-a-day job. Teachers want the very best for their students and are willing to do whatever it takes. It is truly a labor of love.”
Anderson decided to further her educational career by becoming a principal because she loves supporting teachers, students, parents, and staff.
“I want to make school a place where everyone is happy to be there.”
Anderson thoroughly enjoys her career in education and cannot imagine doing anything else.
“I love Beach Elementary! I’m so honored to be the principal of this awesome school. Beach has an amazing staff, phenomenal students, and fabulous parents and families.”
When not working, she and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, such as going to Horn Island, going camping, and going hiking. Anderson is also an avid runner.
She is also an adjunct instructor at William Carey and helps prepare future elementary teachers for the classroom.
She is married to Peter Anderson and they have two children, McConnell and Abigail.