Henrico’s Top Teachers – Susan Anderson

Susan Anderson teaches eleventh-grade English at Deep Run High School, but it was a career she got into by accident.

“It actually wasn’t my plan,” she said. “I started as a music major and thought I would go that route, so education wasn’t really on my radar. When I didn’t think I could make a career out of music, I took an education class, really liked it, and continued to pursue it.”

After graduating from Hiram College in Ohio with a degree in music, she moved a handful of times with her husband’s job before settling in metro Richmond. Anderson taught at St. Gertrude’s before moving to Deep Run High School, where she has taught eleventh-grade English for the past nine years.

“I’ve only taught high school, and particularly I like my juniors because they are at such an interesting point in their life, figuring out and thinking about college and who they want to be,” Anderson said. “They’re starting to break out a little intellectually, and academically they want to push themselves. You can treat them like adults, and if you set the expectations they really want to fulfill them.”

The students are one of her favorite parts of teaching at Deep Run.

“We have the nicest kids, we really do. They are tremendous,” she said. “You could ask anything of them; they’re responsible and polite and know that they are in a good environment, so they are comfortable learning and asking questions. I think they really want to please, and by and large, that’s almost every kid. They want to do well.”

A typical day in Anderson’s classroom consists of writing workshops, open discussion and exchange of ideas in a respectful way, as well as consideration of the perspectives offered by others. She pushes her students, and that’s something that doesn’t go unrecognized.

“Mrs. Anderson’s unwavering energy, subject knowledge and level of expectation for her students is unparalleled,” wrote a fellow teacher in a nomination letter. “She is unafraid of demanding more. Students must constantly think, discuss, interact and write.”

A parent wrote that Anderson “truly sees her students and knows exactly how much she can demand from them. She has now taught two of our daughters and knows them as people first. There is no whining, no chatter, no nonsense in her room, just good hard work. Mediocre is not in her vocabulary, and the students rise to her level every day.”

When Anderson isn’t pushing her students to be all they can be, she can be found reading, being outside and spending time with her husband and three sons.
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June 2017
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The Senior Film Series at Sandston Library continues from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” (2002, PG, 108 minutes). The film accompanies the books: “Motown: the sound of young America” by Adam White; “Rhythm ride: a road trip through the Motown sound” by Andrea Davis Pinkney; and “To be loved: the music, the magic, and the memories of Motown” by Berry Gordy. Coffee and snacks will be provided. For details, call 501-1990 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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