Sunrise Elementary’s Holly Andersen helps students realize their full potential through daily affirmations and support


Holly Andersen


Holly Andersen, awarded Teacher of the Year for 2023-24 at Sunrise Elementary School, emphasizes to her students that they can depend on her guidance beyond academics. Andersen strives to make all her students feel valued and supported in their learning community by offering personalized one-on-one support.


Andersen's drive to become an educator stems from her own positive experiences during her formative years."When my teachers believed in me, I believed in myself," she recalls. After graduating from Utah State University with a dual education degree in early childhood and elementary education, she earned a master's degree in literacy at Western Governors University. “I saw things in teachers that I loved, and I thought to myself, you know, what I want is to make kids feel loved and to feel a part of something because I loved it when teachers did that to me,” reflected Andersen. “The most important thing to me is when students can feel seen, heard, and valued, even when they are little.”


Andersen's journey began as a student teacher, and ever since then, she found her passion at Sunrise Elementary. With 12 years of teaching experience, she dedicated five years to kindergarten education and seven years to teaching fifth graders. “Oddly enough, I student-taught in this room we’re in today,” Andersen added. “It is like the rooms were calling me, and I've been here ever since.”


Holly Andersen and students    Holly Andersen and students


Ensuring her students feel comfortable and loved is among Andersen's top priorities, both within and beyond the classroom.“I loved it when teachers made me feel connected and saw me for who I was.” Andersen added. “I want my students to know, at the end of every day, Miss Andersen loves them.” 


In addition to providing a safe space for her students, Andersen seeks to create a classroom environment that is friendly and stimulating for young minds. “Children can exude a lot of energy. They need movement to engage their minds, and it becomes a game where they are like, 'Oh, this is fun.',” said Andersen. “They don’t even realize they're learning.”


Shellie Healy, Principal of Sunrise Elementary School, expressed that Andersen sets a commendable example as a leader and a positive role model. “Holly has mentored two new teachers since I have been the principal, and both have shown tremendous growth,” said Healy. “Their success is a direct reflection of Holly. She is always positive and tackles whatever comes her way. Sunrise Elementary is very lucky to have her.”