DERRY — Mary Anderson has had two sets of teachers in her life — her parents and a man who gave her a job that remained a part of her life for 39 years.
Anderson, Pinkerton Academy headmaster, not only credits her parents for instilling the love of education into her soul, but she celebrates her first boss, Bradford Ek, for giving her the opportunity to make the Derry high school her home.
She is retiring from the top job at the end of this school year.
Anderson has worked at Pinkerton for 39 years, first serving as a teacher, then leading the school’s business department. She then become assistant headmaster before landing the top job.
Pinkerton has only had three official headmasters in its history, Ivah Hackler, Ek and Anderson. Most had long careers.
Sitting in her office one recent afternoon, Anderson reflected on her years at the school and how much she would miss the students, her colleagues and the campus.
Her office is filled with many things showing her interests, not only in education, but in stock car racing and everything Disney.
She said she is tapping into some of those interests as she crafts her final commencement speech for the graduating class.
“I want it to be special,” she said.
Anderson grew up in Fremont, still living in her family home and staying close with siblings, nieces and nephews who live in the area.
She knew she wanted to be a teacher early on.
“I was the oldest of four children, I was always the bossy older sister,” Anderson said. “We always played school. I knew I always wanted to be a teacher.”
Anderson went through the Sanborn School District and then on to college.
Her roots kept her in the area though, and she landed her first teaching job at Pinkerton following college graduation.