Westborough teacher and coach wins Pathfinder Award
By Erika Steele, Contributing Writer
Westborough/Grafton – It's not often you'sl find someone halfway through their career with as many accolades as Grafton resident Roger Anderson; however, the Westborough coach and educator's philosophy is a credit to his success and that of his students and athletes.
“My end goal is exactly the same,” Anderson said. “The number one priority is to have fun, become better people through it, build relationships, and be a part of something bigger than us.”
Though teaching runs in his family??”his mother taught music??”a young Anderson did not have a clear vision of what life would be like after high school. With a flair for math and science, he decided to obtain an engineering degree from Tufts University; however, halfway through his collegiate career it became clear to the Farmington, Conn., native that it was not the route to his happiness.
On the advice of his college track coach, Anderson shifted gears and pursued physical education. Shortly thereafter he realized teaching was his calling and coaching in athletics was a natural extension of that passion.
“Some of my greatest joys are watching kids do things they didn's think they could,” explained Anderson of his experiences in both realms. “In physical education that looks like a group of people working together and solving a problem in a certain way. In the athletic world it's a kid or team achieving a goal at a level they didn's think possible. That's what I enjoy.? Watching kids exceed their own expectations.”
Anderson has spent his entire teaching career in the Westborough Public Schools though it was in 1995 that his formal coaching career started as the coach of the boys” outdoor track and girls” and boys” cross country teams at Longmeadow High School. After completing his graduate degree in physical education from Springfield College in 1997, he began teaching and coaching at the Westborough Public Schools in track and field as well as girls” volleyball.
The seven-time Metrowest Daily News coach of the year has amassed almost 400 wins and his girls” volleyball team is perennially a top level contender. But what he is most proud of is his persistence in changing the lives of his students and athletes. It's likely what earned him his most recent accolades, the 2014 Pathfinder Award.
Given by the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Anderson's nod in the competitive field is not a surprise. His work to positively affect young people's lives in the classroom, on the track, or in the gym is as impressive as his efforts to advocate for women in sport.
“I am so passionate about women in sport and the opportunities they were been denied for so long,” he said. “I'se benefited from strong women role models in my life tremendously and I think that the current generation of young women can get a lot out of sports.”
Anderson also serves as department chair of physical education, health and wellness K-12.? He lives with his wife Beth who also teaches in the Westborough school system, his son Cole, 10, and daughter Quinn, 8.
Said Anderson: “I have what I consider to be the greatest job in the world for me. My place is exactly where I am, I wouldn's trade it.”
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