TEACHING MORE THAN BOOKS: Roy Clark Elementary School’s Digital Literacy Specialist Susan Henderson is Union Public Schools’ 2016-2017 District Teacher of the Year. She has been teaching in the district since 2009.
Courtesy Union Public Schools
Susan Henderson, digital literacy specialist at Roy Clark Elementary School, is Union Public Schools’ 2016-2017 District Teacher of the Year.
“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 says.
Now, Henderson is helping students to find their passion.
“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,” she says. “I want them to be able to problem solve and think for themselves without the help of another person.”
One way that Henderson reaches students is through the use of a maker space in the media center, which allows students to experiment with creations using the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Henderson appreciates the flexibility of the maker space, allowing her to adjust it according to students’ individual abilities and needs through the use of apps and other technology.
“When I see a student struggling with something, I ask 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 so that it will still stretch them but is within their ability.”
Henderson started teaching at Union in the fall 2009 after teaching in Tulsa Public Schools for close to five years.
“In five years, I see myself continuing to lead the maker space 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 the 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,” says Henderson.
Henderson holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Central Oklahoma and her master’s in school administration from the Northeastern State University. She is a National Board Certified teacher and is currently working on a master’s in library media.