Susan Elliott selected as Colorado’s 2009 Teacher of the Year
Photo: Victoria Morley
|Susan Elliott, a 1977 graduate of Gallaudet’s Master’s of Arts in Education program and 13-year member of the Board of Trustees, has been named the 2009 Colorado Teacher of the Year.
Susan Elliott, a 1977 graduate of Gallaudet’s Master’s of Arts in Education program and a Board of Trustees member from 1994 to 2007, has been named the 2009 Colorado Teacher of the Year. She was recognized at a November 11 ceremony at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities in Arvada, Colo.
“This is a huge honor and many responsibilities come with it,” Elliott told Inside Gallaudet. She is referring not only to the statewide traveling she will do and the numerous presentations she will give, but an added opportunity to share her perspective. “I will represent all Colorado teachers, not only teachers of the deaf, but look forward to this opportunity to increase public awareness of deaf education issues,” she explained.
The Colorado Department of Education, which sponsors the Teacher of the Year Program, states that an ideal candidate will “inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school….and demonstrate high levels of academic achievement for his/her students.” When the seven-judge panel determined that Elliott possessed these qualities, it was recognizing three decades of teaching and development as an educator and an individual.
Elliott completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Although she was an honors student at both schools, Elliott said, she discovered she had much more to learn when she came to Gallaudet. She is grateful to then-professor Dr. Carol LaSasso for her straight talk about “holes” in her education and insistence on rigorous standards.
Gallaudet was also a place to learn about communication, Elliott said. She learned ASL and started to develop a new personal identity as a deaf person. And a memorable “Transformational Grammar” class helped Elliott’s writing skills take a giant leap.
“With a growing sense of identity and communication access, I was able to move forward with personal and academic development,” Elliott said. Later, as a Board of Trustees member, she was able to give back. In addition to preparing for and flying in to attend three meetings a year, she served on the Executive Committee, National Deaf Education Committee, Committee on Trustees, and Audit Committee.
Elliott has taught at multiple grade levels, and currently teaches English and social studies to deaf and hard of hearing students in the Douglas County School District. During her year of representing the states' teachers, she will be out of the classroom and among the community. She will present at workshops and conferences around the state, and act as a liaison to government bodies and communities and an ambassador to businesses, parents, service organizations, and the media.
Along with other state’s selected teachers, Elliott will also visit Washington, D.C. in the spring to meet with the President.
Elliott is now automatically a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State Council Officers and the ING Foundation. This distinction comes with yet more responsibilities and opportunities.
Edited by: Rhea Kennedy
Posted: 18 Nov 2008