As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Sue Ikenberry!
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Sue.
- Primary Role: High School history teacher
- Pronouns: she/her
- Years at GDS: 38 years down and nearly done with year 39! What a remarkable run!
What do you love about GDS?
Our students are people who totally think for themselves. They don't accept everything they are told, and that's all to the good! I love their strong interest in everything around them and their genuine passion for making the world better. And I love how they will help me. If I need technology help, there is always a student who jumps up and shows me what I need to do.
Why do you teach/do your job?
I love teaching! It took me a long time to learn how to do it, and I still have my problems sometimes, but fundamentally it's a daily challenge.
A favorite lesson to teach / part of your job?
I enjoy it when I can work with one or two students and really make some headway—show them how to write better or how to get better at multiple-choice questions. I love lessons where students work in groups and find that together they can draw conclusions that are more substantive and creative.
Your work style in three words?
Don't do the same thing every day. (That's six, sorry!)
Other GDS activities or roles that community members may not know about?
I still serve as the faculty advisor for GDS’s It's Academic! team. I have cut back on my time commitments with Quizbowl and EuroChallenge. [Sue devoted dozens of hours weekly to Quizbowl for decades. EuroChallenge is a newer GDS program that Sue loyally supported.]
A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
I hope this COVID stuff is over soon, so that we can go back to normal.
Not a whole lot beyond teaching at this phase. I love Jane Austen and love to watch British murder mysteries.
A few favorites…?
I like classical music—especially corny stuff like Rachmaninoff. And, like nearly all people my age, I love the rock classics: the Stones, the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen…
Something you made, created, accomplished you can proudly share?
I've written a few articles that are in the library—one on Eleanor Roosevelt in fiction and one on college novels.
Tell us about your pets.
We recently lost our weiner dog, and my husband, who was not well, really needed the company. So we adopted two dogs—Rico and Nico—who are a Shi Zhu and Yorkie Mix. They can jump about 5 feet into the air!
One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
My younger son is teaching in Vietnam. We are trying to find him another job, maybe closer to home. [Sue’s older son, Dan, is an alum from the class of 1993 and her granddaughter, Violet, is in 8th grade.]
One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
Two trips to Turkey, five trips to Ireland, and one trip to London that involved seeing the House of Commons close up and meeting the Speaker there.
One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
Seeing Paris beyond the airport.
With a tip from Sue, we reached out to hear what a colleague had to say…
High School history teacher Emily Landau said, “Sue Ikenberry is a great colleague and a true friend. She is a wonderful teacher; she really ‘gets’ students, and the connections she makes in the classroom, or through the many clubs and activities she supervises, often lead to lifelong relationships. She truly sees her students, and she treats everyone who comes into the History office as someone special. She is generous with her knowledge and her time, offering valuable advice and support in all manner of situations, whether professional or personal. She gives more of herself than is required, always going the extra mile. I cannot say enough good things about Sue, but my space is limited, so I’ll end with this: she has a terrific sense of humor, and laughing with her in the office is one of the joys of this job.”