Anna Stearns

Anna Stearns, Exceptional Educator Inducted 2013

  • When she was nominated to the Dallas County R-I Schools Hall of Fame one of her former students wrote, “Miss Anna’s students were the most important thing in her life.  She loved us all very much and we could feel it everyday”.   Miss Stearns lived most of her life in Dallas County and taught in Dallas County schools for over 45 years.  She completed her grade school education here in Dallas County at Rice School.  She began her career in the one room school houses of Dallas County teaching at Victory School, Cowden School, Crescent School, White Palace School, Reynolds School, Macedonia School, Prairie View School, and Lone Rock School.  She was County Superintendent of Schools for Dallas County from 1939 until 1947, at a time when women Superintendents were hard to find in Missouri.  She also served eight years as elementary school principal in Buffalo.  One of her former students has said, “if you were ever sent to Miss Stearn’s office when you misbehaved, it was a very long walk”, but she was always fair and she had high expectations for all of her students.  She was a graduate of the Southwest Missouri State Teachers College (now known as Missouri State University) and she held many teaching certificates.  She was truly a pioneer woman educator in Dallas County.  She came to Dallas County in a covered wagon with her family from Kansas at the age of seven.  They settled on a farm near Buffalo, where she spent most of her life.  When she retired in 1962 the city declared the day “Anna Stearns Day” in recognition of her many accomplishments and service to the entire county. She loved many things, including gardening and poetry, but most of all she loved children and teaching.  She always tried to inspire children in their education and is remembered as a motivator of young minds.  She married late in life and spent her final years in California, but, her influence is still felt here in Dallas County schools.   It is a tribute to her powerful influence on her students that 51 years after her retirement and exactly 100 years after she began her teaching career at Victory School here in Dallas County, that she was nominated by her former students.  We are proud to induct Mrs. Anna Stearns-Sweaney into the Dallas County R-I Schools Hall of Fame as an Exceptional Educator.