November 2016 Life Changer: Susan Gruidl
Susan J.P. Gruidl has spent the last 25 years shaping the lives of countless gifted students. But for the past three years, Gruidl has served as the coordinator for the K-12 Gifted and Talented program where she ensures students are achieving their highest potential.
Gruidl has a lifelong history with Hopkins and grew up attending Harley Hopkins. Her love of learning was sparked at an early age, and she began pursuing a career path in the education field. Through her education at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas, Gruidl equipped herself with the skills necessary to guide today’s most gifted students.
Alongside her colleagues, Gruidl is instrumental in implementing relevant curriculum, creating professional development opportunities for staff, and managing a cohesive education model to support gifted students.
“Susan is able to see the big picture of our educational system while navigating the complexities involved with meeting the needs of gifted learners,” said Scott Stillman, Eisenhower Elementary Gifted and Talented teacher. “As a professional peer, she respectfully empowers us to make choices that are in the best interest of students and families.”
Background: Gruidl’s history with Hopkins Public Schools began when she was in grade school at Harley Hopkins. She attended through sixth-grade. As an adult she went on to student-teach at Meadowbrook Elementary. Her love of the District remained strong throughout her substitute teaching days at all elementary buildings. She was hired part-time at Tanglen Elementary before taking a full-time position teaching fourth- and fifth-grade, and Gifted and Talented students.
What do you love most about working at Hopkins Public Schools? As a student in Hopkins, I had dedicated, passionate teachers, which inspired me to become a teacher. It was exciting to see two of them still teaching when I got hired (Carol Carr and Linda Naley). I was able to learn from them early on in my teaching career.
Proudest moment? “I am proud of the accelerated math program at the elementary level starting in grade 4. This idea started at Tanglen Elementary out of student need to formally accelerate a group of students in math at an earlier age, and now it is consistent across the District.”
Teaching philosophy? “Seek excellence, not perfection.”
Stats: • Bachelor’s degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota; Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from University of St. Thomas; Administrative degree/principal licensure from the University of Minnesota; and currently working on her superintendent license at the University of Minnesota. Gruidl has been the coordinator for Hopkins’ Gifted and Talented program for the last three years, but has a 25-year history as an educator with the District.