Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of articles that features accomplished Galt High School and Liberty Ranch High School graduates. If you are interested in being considered as part of this series or you know a GHS or LRHS graduate with notable accomplishments, career or otherwise, please email Faith Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bonnie Rodriguez at email@example.com.
Two years after relocating from the greater Los Angeles area to Galt for her father’s job, Sue Anderson started at Galt High School. Her involvement in everything from forensics to student government gave her the opportunity to explore her interests, helping to shape her future career path and leading her to consider Galt her hometown even long after she moved away. Now an elementary school teacher in the Chicago suburbs, Anderson takes an active role in education beyond her own classroom and curriculum.
“Being in a small high school where you could really get to know your teachers was very beneficial because they could help guide you and talk with you about resources and options,” Anderson said of her time at Galt High School.
Her teachers recognized her ambition and went above and beyond to give her opportunities to learn outside the classroom. She had the chance to work as an assistant for the head of the English Department and help in the fifth-grade classroom at Galt Elementary School for an hour every day after school. She was also involved with the accreditation team where she worked closely with the assistant principal to help conduct student surveys, compile data and write reports. And, as the first student to serve on the school board, she was able to attend meetings and learn directly from the school board.
“These gave me wonderful experiences to help me be better prepared for the teacher preparation I had in college,” Anderson said. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I also knew I wanted to get an advanced degree and I had teachers who took me under their wings and gave me experiences and resources above and beyond the basic high school curriculum.”
Shortly after she graduated from GHS in 1977, her family again relocated for her father’s work and, in 1981, she graduated from Northwestern University in Illinois with her Bachelor of Science in education, having double majored in elementary and secondary education, and sociology.
Throughout her career, Anderson has taught grades K-8 and has worked as a reading specialist for third and fourth grade students, as well as leading supplementary courses for teachers at several school districts that focused on demonstrating how to use reading strategies across all curricular areas. She now teaches third grade and is an adjunct faculty member at National-Louis University, where she instructs future teachers in how to approach reading and language arts classes.
“I am blessed to be doing work that I feel is a calling for me,” she said. “I enjoy being a part of children’s lives and I enjoy working with their families to help them achieve their potential. I have met many wonderful educators and parents over the years and have been impressed over and over with how much we can do for our young people.”
And, for Anderson, that means taking an active role in education beyond her own classroom. She returned to school herself to earn a Master of Science in education in 1996 and again in 2004 for her Doctorate in education. She has taken on a consulting role for several different school districts and has been the coordinator for the Illinois Young Authors’ Conference for over 25 years.
“I work with the state and districts throughout the state to bring student writers to an annual event to honor their writing and to meet published authors,” Anderson said. “I coordinate over 500 students, 15 authors and over 200 volunteers each year.”
She has also served on several advisory boards for the state of Illinois regarding learning standards and assessment protocols.
Now, Anderson is anticipating retiring from the classroom in the next five to 10 years and is focusing on writing an educational book with some of the language arts strategies she has developed over her career and explored during her doctoral thesis.
In her free time, Anderson enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She hopes to have the opportunity to travel more when she retires.