Susan McGee began her career in education “wearing love beads and an attitude.” She doesn’t wear love beads any longer, and the attitude has “given way to wisdom,” but her passion for teaching and learning is ever-present.
Susan earned a B.A. in English and Education from the University of Connecticut and, later, a Masters of Education in learning disabilities from American University. She has been working in the field for 30 years and has gathered experience at all levels, from elementary school to high school. Susan began teaching in the Stamford, Connecticut public schools and has since worked at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville, Ohio, and The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts. She was the Associate Director of the Primary Program and Learning Specialist at Laurel School, a Middle School English and Humanities teacher at Stamford, Sidwell Friends, and Lake Ridge Academy, and is currently the Head of Middle School at Rivers where she is also a Media Literacy Specialist as well as a teacher of High School English.
Ms. McGee has worked expansively to integrate the curriculum of different disciplines, changing the reading education program for the primary school at Laurel from the standard basal approach to a literature-based method, and directing the development of a Humanities program in the Middle School at Lake Ridge. In the process she has written extensive amounts of new curriculum, particularly at the Middle School level, persistently researching the latest in cutting-edge science on the functions of the human brain in learning, as well as focusing on experiential learning and creating alternative forms of assessment. She also conscientiously studies the role the Arts play in the classroom, believing it imperative to incorporate all of this research into classroom practice so as to build the most nurturing learning environment possible.
As a lover of teaching and learning, Susan asserts wholeheartedly that in educating children for life in the vast, perpetually changing global landscape of the 21st century, it is pre-eminent that emphasis be placed on critical and creative thinking. Imparting specific content and information is simply not sufficient, students must be able to develop qualities that aid them in being innovative, resilient, reflective, expressive, and, most of all, imaginative. It behooves modern educators to teach in a cross-curricular, interdisciplinary manner, thereby allowing the students the time and opportunity to practice the skill sets of different types of thinking. She works diligently with faculty to do just this, so that within the context of any given curriculum the students’ ability to think creatively is central. A classroom should be dominated by students and not by teachers. Questions, thinking, and the initiative for learning should come from the students themselves; it is the teacher’s responsibility to promote this, and not merely provide conduits of information.
Learning is “fun, messy, noisy, social, interactive and difficult” and an education is the one thing that can never be taken from a person. Thus “the most important place to be is in our nation’s schools and classrooms.” Susan McGee works tirelessly to make these places the best that they can be.