For 17 years Ann Dempsey taught kindergarten at Manzanita Elementary and now in her 18th year she finds herself teaching t/k and kindergarten and enjoys it very much. In the afternoons Dempsey can be seen helping students of all ages in interventions when they need more help to boost their grades.
Dempsey proclaimed she loves teaching all grades and professes she could teach adults if the opportunity were to come her way.
It is awards such as the recent nomination for Butte County Teacher of the Year that make Dempsey seem humble, professing that so many are deserving of this honor.
Dempsey was interviewed by a panel to help determine the winner of this high honor with the State honoree being announced at the Chico Heat baseball game in Chico June 2. She received VIP tickets to the game along with 40 tickets to Manzanita Elementary to help support and honor her for this accomplishment with 500 seats dedicated to educators in Butte County.
Dempsey obtained her teaching degree at Western Washington University where she feels she received an excellent education after growing up in Long Island.
She had an interview with the Butte County Office of Education and noticed a poster of the post office where she grew up, in a town similar to Gridley only with a population of 2,000. Noting the quaint, colonial building, Dempsey saw it as a sign to work in this area.
She grew up in a town where the residents picked up their own mail at the post office and witnessed her parents having interaction with others each day which she says instilled a community feeling that she feels at Manzanita especially, a community within itself.
"For ten years we get to watch kids grow," Dempsey explained. "I am so lucky to be here to watch these kids grow up and tell eighth graders I saw them grow up since they were in kindergarten."
Dempsey beamed as she explained the feeling of working with the same families with a potential of 10 years with the school and depending on how many kids a family has the potential could be 15 years working together towards the kids educations.
Noting how the award could have gone to any one of the wonderful teachers at Manzanita, Dempsey stated she is just a reflection of the teachers.
Dempsey was given an award by Superintendent/Principal Minden King just last month at Gold Country Casino which was a first. In the Superintendents organization that King is a member of, each school has a chance to highlight a teacher and Dempsey was chosen.
"For the last eighteen years Mrs. Dempsey has shaped the lives of hundreds of children. Ann enters her classroom every morning with a beaming smile and an open heart and her students thrive in the warm, genuine, loving environment she provides for them. Ann is truly gifted and sees each child's strengths and just where that child needs a little extra push. She then gently nudges until the child understands the concept being taught and then celebrates their accomplishments wholeheartedly. Ann understands that kindergarten is pivotal in the success of students making their kindergarten year one where they develop that love of learning. Consequently, her students are eager to enter her classroom and look forward to each and everyday they get to spend with their beloved Mrs. Dempsey. Ann Dempsey joined the Manzanita Elementary Family eighteen years ago," Mrs. King stated.
Dempsey noted the many additions and changes King has made in this her first year at Manzanita where she starts each day with a Quote of the Day over the loudspeaker, as a inspirational message to start everyone's day."
She reminds us to bring out our best - we are very fortunate," Dempsey stated.
Currently, Dempsey's class is studying author Eric Carle and they have read many of his books.
Each day Dempsey gives the students a poem to read together and to have fun dissecting some of the words, poems such as Sing a Song of Sixpence and London Bridges. Students pick a word to search and use yellow highlighters as they find the word in the poem in a word hunt.
"We all work hard. We are doing our professional best. It's not just the teachers, it is the staff that is outstanding as well," Dempsey stated. "We couldn't ask for a better staff."