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Suzanne Glenn named SC Secondary Art Educator of the Year

Published on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021

suzanne glenn

Suzanne Glenn, art teacher at Stratford High, has been named the 2021 South Carolina Secondary Art Educator of the Year by the South Carolina Art Education Association (or SCAEA).

Glenn found out she won the award earlier this month and was recognized at an awards ceremony in Greenville on Nov. 13.

Glenn is in her fifth year teaching at Stratford High, and her 22nd year teaching total. She is from Charleston originally but used to teach in Oconee County at Walhalla High.

Glenn obtained a degree in visual arts from Lander University, but teaching was actually a career change for her; she used to work for a smelting plant, and when she was in her mid-30s, she learned she was about to lose her job.

Glenn had a desk drawer where she had always kept a card from Lander University about their Master of Arts in Teaching program, and decided to go for it.

“I just fell in love with teaching,” she said, adding that she loves seeing her students learn and grow. “I tell them I don’t compare them to each other, and everybody’s going to grow at a different rate or a different way and find things they can and can’t do.”

At the end of the day Glenn likes to look at her students’ artwork hanging around her classroom, and reflect on the obstacles that certain students were able to overcome in order to complete particular projects.

“Most of them won’t go on and do something in art, but art might be their hobby, or benefit them with whatever career they go into,” she said.

Glenn is currently teaching Art 3, honors and AP classes, as well as painting at Stratford High. She was nominated for the award by fellow art teacher Heather Hill, who teachers Art 1 and sculpture at the school. Glenn was further recommended for the award by Jayma Diaz, interim principal at Stratford High, and Jay Burnsworth, Coordinator of Innovation for visual and performing arts in Berkeley County School District.

“I was really honored,” Glenn said, adding, “It’s from my peers – and they’ve taught me so much.”

When she was at Walhalla High, Glenn was the only art teacher, so being a part of a team of four art teachers at Stratford High was a new experience for her.

“It’s really nice to have people to bounce ideas off, and work with, every day,” she said.

In Hill’s recommendation letter for Glenn, she described how supportive Glenn was when Hill joined Stratford High a year and a half ago. She wrote that Glenn was “incredibly patient and encouraging” with her team of art teachers, and that Glenn is the type of teacher one would desperately want to stay in education.

Hill also wrote that Glenn stays up to date with current trends in art and education; this summer Glenn re-took AP certification so she could further prepare her students, “even though she had 100-percent pass rate even during the pandemic.” Hill added that Glenn gives back to art educators across the state through her position on the SCAEA board as membership chair.

“After 22-plus years in art education, she is truly deserving,” Hill wrote.

Glenn said she is very appreciative to have received such recognition by her peers.

“I’m just very honored, and this is what I love doing,” she said.

Monica Kreber