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Susan Henderson named Union Teacher of the Year

Originally posted February 23, 2017

Susan Henderson, the digital literacy specialist at Roy Clark Elementary School, was named the 2016-2017 Union Public Schools Teacher of the Year during a reception Wednesday at the Union Performing Arts Center, 6636 S. Mingo Road. All of the Site Teachers of the Year were also honored during the reception.

Henderson has always wanted to be a teacher.

“It’s hard to say when I knew for sure I wanted to be a teacher, it’s always something I have loved. I remember as a young girl going to school and loving it so much I couldn’t wait to get home and play school,” Henderson said. Now, Henderson is helping students to find their passion. See rellated story/more photos/sponsors. / See Superintendent's message to teachers.

Henderson said, “I know that as a librarian you would think that I would want them to love reading. I do want that, but above all, I hope that my students learn to think and create on their own. I want them to open their minds to the world of possibilities and realize that truly anything is possible for them. I want them to be able to problem solve and think for themselves without the help of another person.”

One way she reaches students is through the use of a makerspace in the media center which allows students to experiment with creations using the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

“The great thing about my makerspace that I have created in the library at Clark is that everything I do and show the students is scalable. So, I can adjust the activity to meet the needs of any of the students and do so on a minute-by-minute basis each day,” Henderson said. “When I see a student struggling with something, I asking them questions that make them think and encourage them to try it a different way. If I see it is not something they can yet do, then I adjust the activity to where it is something that will stretch them, but within their ability to do. I use apps and other technology that can become more in-depth and involved or simplified based upon the students’ needs. The students still achieve the same thing in the end; they just get to use a tool that supports their needs. I also have part of the library time for open stations so students can go back and explore and create with something they have been successful with in the past.”

Henderson started teaching in Union in the fall of 2009 after teaching in Tulsa Public Schools for 4½ years. “I changed districts because Union had a great reputation and my husband and I had just had a child and I wanted to be closer to home,” she said. “In five years, I see myself continuing to lead the makerspace movement in our district and state. I firmly believe that the library needs to be so much more than just checking out books. My goal is to lead others to see that library needs to have a space to collaborate with others to use technology to create, invent, tinker, as well as a place to access great books.”

Educational background:

  • Associate’s Degree- Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College- Moore, OK.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education- University of Central Oklahoma
  • Master’s of School Administration- Northeastern University
  • National Board Certified Teacher
  • Working on Master’s in Library Media from Northeastern State University. She hopes to graduate with her second master’s degree in December 2017.