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After teaching 32 years, Arnold retires from Madison elementary

Susan Arnold is retiring as a first-grade teacher at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Susan Arnold is retiring as a first-grade teacher at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Susan Arnold has found great reward in teaching siblings. She’s retiring from Madison Elementary School.

“I feel an important part of their childhood and family and feel especially bonded with those students,” she said. She also feels pride when former students stop by to visit.

For her successor, Arnold’s best advice is “to love each child individually and differentiate your instruction. First-graders are such a sweet age. Building on their eagerness to learn (or lack of interest) is a daily part of the curriculum.”

Arnold earned a bachelor’s degree at Georgia Southern University and a master’s degree at the University of North Alabama.

In 32 years, she has taught at McDonough (Ga.) Primary School, three local parochial schools and West Madison Elementary School. “I transferred to Madison elementary, which I have loved,” Arnold said.

In 2006, Arnold and best friend and colleague Clarissa Owen earned National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) status. “National boards is an intense process that requires complete dedication and makes you reflect on how to improve your teaching strategies,” Arnold said.

Her high school English teacher, Billy Bragg, inspired Arnold to teach. “He had high standards but made each day’s class interesting. Students were eager to see what would happen the next day. He made reading ‘cool.'”

She and husband Steve have been married 45 years. He retired as a contracts administrator at SAIC last year. Their son Chris is a biologist. Daughter Betsy Schomburg teaches sixth-graders at Sparkman Middle School. Son Robin will teach physical education at Madison Cross Roads next year.

“We have four perfect grandchildren,” Arnold said. Michael and Ashley Arnold are University of Alabama students. Sarah and Luke Schomburg attend Monrovia schools.

She will miss fellow first-grade teachers Clarissa Owen, Mary Lynn Trainer and Kathy Crutcher. “We’ve a team for 18 years,” Arnold said.

In retirement, Arnold will enjoy attending her grandchildren’s school-day activities. “I’ve reconnected with several high school classmates and look forward to more ‘Chix of 66’ trips,” she said.

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