Susanne Burkhardt, the 2007 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, is the Principal at Southside Elementary. Burkhardt had 17 years’ teaching experience, five as an elementary school teacher at Simpsonville where she had received Innovative Instructional Grants from the Shelby County School Board, two years prior to that at Southside Elementary and 10 in Ohio.
Following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother who are teachers, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Wittenberg University in Ohio, which she described as a small school where she received personal attention. “I used that experience as a model in my own classrooms because I saw the value of that personal attention,” she recalled. She received a master’s degree in literacy studies at John Carroll University near Cleveland, Ohio where she also taught evening reading classes.
She received her principal certification from the University of Louisville as part of the first Aspiring Administrators Academy conducted in collaboration with the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative. Led by former Shelby County Public Schools educators Dr. Molly Sullivan, Tina Tipton and Sara Monarch, the academy showed Burkhardt the instructional leadership aspect being “the key role of a strong principal. I could then see that it tied in with my vision and focus.”
She values the relationships she built with students and staff during her two years as Southside’s achievement consultant. Burkhardt wants Southside parents to “see that their child has potential and that there are excellent opportunities for success and how to access them. We want the best for their children and will provide it.”
Burkhardt has achieved National Board Certification in the Early Childhood Generalist category and is a member of the Kentucky chapter of the National Board of Professional Teaching (NBPT).
By Duanne B. Puckett, Public Relations Coordinator