For her outstanding contributions as an elementary teacher, Susan is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Southwest Elementary School, of Lakeland, Florida.
Susan Norton was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida, attending St. Johns School K-8 and Santa Fe High School 9-12. After graduating she continued on to Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo) where she received her BS in Elementary Education in 1969.
Her teaching career began with a second grade class. It was the first year of desegregation in Polk County, where white teachers were sent to all black schools and black teachers were sent to all white schools. Education buzz words included “behavioral objectives.”
She met her husband Scot during her first summer as a teacher. He understood her many hours of making bulletin boards; teaching materials, since there were no teacher supply stores; and grading papers. Susan and Scot married in November 1970, and Scot later became a principal.
Susan remained at Rochelle for three years before transferring to Jesse Keen Elementary, where she taught for fifteen years. During those fifteen years, she had two sons: Stephen in 1974, and Seth in 1978. At this time, teachers taught in “pods.” After eight years as a second grade teacher, Susan became a primary resource teacher. She earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida in 1982. She later returned to a team teaching situations in a first grade classroom. And in 1983, Susan Norton was selected a Teacher of the Year.
In 1993, she also became a member of the International Teaching Society, Delta Kappa Gamma. Susan transferred to Southwest Elementary in 1987, and was selected as the Southwest Teacher of the Year in 1991. She then went on to represent the Southwest area as Regional Teacher of the Year. Susan watched the school climate continue to evolve and new innovations such as whole language, brain research, magnet schools, computer labs, and Culyer strategies. She remained a Southwest Elementary, as a first and second grade teacher, until she retired in 2004. Susan notes that she was privileged to work with some of the finest administrators and excellent teaching staff throughout her years as a teacher.
Highly respected by her colleagues, Susan leaves a legacy of educated children, having served over 700 youngsters in the span of her 35 year career.