PHOENIX, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Spending nearly 50 years in the school system as an educator is a rare occurrence, but Susan Anderson, the principal at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School, couldn’t picture herself working anywhere else.
After 46 years, she has made the tough decision to retire this summer. Ahead of that day, NewsChannel 9 took a look back at Anderson’s career.
Anderson was only 21 years old when she graduated from Syracuse University and landed a job at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School as a physical education teacher. She later became the assistant principal and then, the principal of the school.
“I always wake up in the morning and think, oh, I’m so glad I’m going to go to work. I love my job. I love the teachers, I love the kids,” Anderson said.
In her time in physical education, Anderson was the first female to teach the course at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School. She was also the first female coach for women’s sports at the school.
“It meant a lot. The girls got a lot of recognition that they didn’t get in the beginning,” Anderson said.
Anderson ended up spending an equal amount of time as an educator and as an administrator, working 23 years in each role. Over that time, she taught generations of families and collected hundreds of notes and letters from students.
As she gets ready to retire, she’s reminded of how all of those relationships have impacted her life.
“All of a sudden, what’s really struck me is they’ve grown up and now they’ve become the people in my life. My doctor, my teachers, I’ve hired so many of my teachers were my students,” Anderson said.
Those same students, coworkers and community members gathered at the middle school on Friday for a drive-through parade for Susan.
“She’s given a lot to this community and this school and she’s very passionate about her job and we’re going to miss her,” said Laurie Doss, a Teaching Assistant at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.
Anderson officially retires June 30. From there, she will mentor principals in other districts and continue her hobby as a triathlete.
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For more local news, follow Julia LeBlanc on Twitter @JuliaLeBlancNC9.