Zachary Pierson - Teacher, Room 1319
Hello Parents and Students,
I have been working in St. Paul Public Schools since August 2014. However, I have been teaching in Minnesota since 2010.
I was born and raised in Marquette Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, but moved to Iowa with my family. Iowa is where I attended middle school and high school and met my wife Hannah, a teacher at Wellstone Elementary School in St. Paul. I got my B.A. in History and Secondary Education from St. Norbert College in 2010. I originally set out to be a Social Studies teacher; however, after discovering that there are very few jobs for Social Studies teachers I took a job working as an Educational Assistant and substitute teacher at a charter school for children on the autism spectrum. It was there that I discovered I had a knack for working with students with disabilities, especially behavior disorders. Upon the urging of one of my supervisors I enrolled in a masters program at Bethel University for a Masters degree in Special Education. I finished my masters coursework in 2013 and are in the process of completing my thesis, disproportionate representation of African-American students in special education. I then spent two years working as a special-education EBD teacher at a charter school in North Minneapolis. In 2014 I had the opportunity to take a job with St. Paul Public Schools and have enjoyed every year sense.
I believe my educational can be summed up by looking at my cover letter to St. Paul Public Schools on my original application:
"I moved to St. Paul in 2010 because I liked the Midwestern, yet diverse feel of the city. I bought a house in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood because I wanted my children to live and go to school in a diverse multilingual community. I am applying for a position as a Special Education Teacher with SPPS because I strongly believe that through strong public schools I can help build strong communities in which my children and my students can learn, grow, and reach their full potential.
From a young age, I saw the impact that outstanding educators could have on the lives’ of their students. I have observed my oldest brother, who is on the autism spectrum; succeed beyond expectations because of dedicated and determined teachers who were willing to think outside the classroom. I myself have specific learning disabilities and have benefited firsthand from truly exceptional educators who connected to my personal experiences to help me succeed. My focus in education has always been on finding the way my students can best learn the content. I am interested in discovering which unique approach catered to my individual students’ needs will engage them in learning. Additionally, I believe that it is important to teach the whole student, including social and emotional needs as well as their academic goals.
A key belief in my own world prospective is that individuals must make choices about our own life and must learn to accept accountability for those choices; and, students must make choices about their own education and realize their accountability for those choices. When a student becomes personally invested in what they are learning, learning becomes more meaningful to the student. The need for student investment in their own education is doubly true for Special Education students. It is my belief student’s must be involved in the creation of their IEP; they must have both a voice and some understanding of the meaning and consequences of the individualized education plan. In my own life, it was not until I took an active role in the IEP process that I became motivated to meet and exceed my goals."
I now have the opportunity to help the students of SPPS take an active role in creating their own educational paths.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my wife (Hannah), my two sons (Merritt and Abel), and our dogs (Juneau and Sitka). I like to spend time outside camping and fishing. I have what some might consider an unhealthy obsession with football. In particular the Michigan Wolverines, the winningest team in college football history, and the Green Bay Packers, 13 overall NFL championships the most in the NFL. I spend my time volunteering as the head of the young men's program at my church and the leader of the scout troop.
The opportunity I have to work with the parents and students of St. Paul is one of the greatest pleasures in my life and I hope that we are able to accomplish the goals we set before us. Feel free to email me with questions or concerns you have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Pierson in life and school.