How long have you been a teacher?
I’ve been teaching since the mid-80s, so a very long time! But it never gets old, I am still as passionate about teaching as I was 30+ years ago.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I actually went to college to become a pharmacist, but after a year of chemistry I decided it wasn’t for me and was recruited by my college performing arts department chair to join the music and theatre departments. My musical inspiration actually comes from my fifth through high school music teacher in South Dakota, Mr. Shallenkamp. He was a true musical genius and shared his passion with so many students throughout his 50-year career.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching at Dawson?
My favorite thing about Dawson is the freedom we have to teach to our strengths and share our passions with our students.
What is one thing about you that would surprise students?
I think it would surprise them to know that I used to own a fitness facility that also had a hair salon in the center of it.
What helps you feel strong?
Knowing that I am supported by friends, family, and coworkers that offer advice and feedback.
What does Stronger Together mean to you?
Together we can do anything, no one is alone, help is always within reach.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my students that are so willing to take risks and discover their creative selves.
I’m also very proud of my children, my eldest is helping people fight cancer in targeted T-cell therapies, and my youngest is more than halfway through dental college. They are both kind, considerate, loving young men.
Do you have any career highlights that you’d like to note and share with our community?
It was wonderful bringing live performances back to the stage last year with “The Lion King” Trying something new with digital scenery and bringing the performance to the gym projecting the action on the big screen for exciting closeups. The next step and goal for the future is to create a dedicated performance space here on campus!
Thank you for sitting in the spotlight, Sue! Watch her QuickFire Q&A in the hot seat on Instagram here