ICON of the month: Martha Anderson

By Jessica Todd

Martha Andersen is the current assistant principal of Pleasant Grove Elementary School. Anderson has lived in Greenwood for the last 25 years with her husband of 34 years, Kim Andersen. The two raised their sons, Conner and Luke, in the Center Grove School system. Both boys went on to attended Ball State University and get married to Andersen’s daughters-in-law, Olivia and Samantha. Although Andersen came into her career later in life, she would not change a thing about where she has found herself. “I absolutely love my job,” she said. “PGES is an amazing school with caring teachers, supportive families and fantastic students. I wake up every morning knowing that I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children. We make a point to overtly love our students, care for their needs and move them along on their unique educational journeys. I love connecting with the families too as in order for students to be successful, it takes a strong partnership with home. I am passionate about learning and children, so this is the perfect career for me,” she said.

What do you consider your greatest virtue?

I believe myself to be authentic. No matter what situation in which you know me, I am the same person. Genuine or “true to self” would also be words I hope people see as virtues in me.

What do you most deplore in others?   

There honestly is not much that I deplore. I give grace and respect to people as I don’t always know what is going on in their own lives. No one is perfect, and we all have our moments – including me!

What do you like most about living in Johnson County?  

As a person who was not raised in this area, I am always amazed at the number of people who were born here and still live here. It is a tight community with loyal residents. I’ve also seen many situations when the community comes together to help someone. This village takes care of each other!

If you had to live elsewhere, where would it be?

I would live in Michigan near a lake. I lived in there growing up years and most of my family is still there.

If you could begin life over, what would you change?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t look back as I can’t change anything that has happened in the past.

If money were no issue, how would you spend it?

My husband drives a really old truck so I would first get him a new vehicle. Otherwise, I am blessed in so many ways that I would donate money to the causes that are important to me. When you see families who struggle, children fighting cancer, or people in need, you realize that materialistic things just don’t matter. I don’t have one specific cause to support but would appreciate the ability to give as much to whoever I wanted whenever the need arose.

What makes you happiest? 

Our children are grown so it makes me happy when we can all be together. We genuinely enjoy each other so when we do get together is a lively time of laughter and fun.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

My special place is St. Joseph, MI. Our kids grew up on the water and beaches of Lake Michigan. It’s a beautiful place in the summer with gorgeous sunsets. Winter is also beautiful when the water and sand make natural ice sculptures. I love every facet of the big lake! The added bonus is that my parents live there.

What do you do with idle time?

I enjoy walking with friends, reading and working in my yard. My husband and I also keep active with pickleball and tennis. Since COVID, we have started watching Netflix too.

What is it that makes you angry?

I am grateful for my life and don’t really get upset – even when things don’t go as expected. I keep a glass half full attitude. Also, the older I get, the less I sweat the small stuff.

What do you do to escape from reality?  

I escape by sitting in my favorite spot on our covered porch. I love to sit out there with a good book, listening to nature and just relax. I also enjoy having friends join me on the porch. We call it “porch therapy” and solve many of the world’s problems.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My family is my greatest love. It starts with my love for my husband, Kim. He is truly my partner through thick and thin. As empty-nesters I can honestly say that we still enjoy spending time together. The boys are also my greatest loves. We are so proud of the amazing young men they are today! Plus, we’ve recently added two daughters-in-law that we adore.

Which living person in Johnson County do you most admire?

There are many strong leaders in Johnson County whom I admire. I admire those who give back to the community and help to make a difference in the lives of others. There are too many to name individually.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

I appreciate a good sense of humor, thoughtfulness, being a good listener, and being someone who is easygoing.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

My closest female friends are grounded, loyal, genuine, fun, caring, thoughtful, and spontaneous!

What is your greatest extravagance?

I don’t have one great extravagance, but I do appreciate quality over quantity.

What are your fears, phobias?

I can get claustrophobic if I feel like I’m in a confined space and can’t get out. I recently thought I was stuck in a port-a-pot at Mallow Run. It just took a minute to figure out the door latch, but it felt like an hour and my life flashed before my eyes.

What has been the happiest time of your life?

Our two sons recently got married. Our oldest was married two years ago, and our youngest was married on July 10. Weddings are such a special time when all of your favorite people in your life come together to celebrate and support your kids and family. For us, it is also so fun to add daughters to our core four. Each of our boys has an amazing wife who loves him for all of his special qualities and even for those not-so-special qualities! You think it can’t get any better than when your kids are little and sweet, but then it does get even better as they grow up and become adults. The happiest time of my life is right now, but I’ve loved the journey and each moment along the way.

Which talent would you most like to possess?

My husband and my boys all play a lot of tennis. I love the sport but am not very good at it. I wish I could play better so I could hold my own on the court with them.

What do you most value in your friends? 

I value friends who are real and easy to be with. They don’t get hung up on silly things, but instead focus on important things. We can be honest with one other, respect each other and care for each other. Our family is blessed with a strong group of friends.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I don’t have one historical figure that stands out. I try to learn lessons not only from well-known people in history but also from family and friends who I admire. I try to be observant and open to learning from anyone. For me, life’s lessons come in the little moments along the way. My parents have also had a huge influence on me. They are servants in their community, generous and loving.

What is your greatest regret?

I honestly don’t have one greatest regret. Each decision in my life led me to where I am today. We learn the most not from the times that went well, but from the times when we made mistakes.

What tenet do you live by?

I have two tenets. The first is the golden rule. You can’t go wrong when you treat others the way that you want to be treated. I also live by a saying I had hanging in my room as a little girl. “Bloom where you are planted.” To me, it means that no matter where I am, who I am with, or where I am, I can set my roots, grow strong, and blossom.