Dr. Suzy Zerr Named 2020-2021 District Teacher of the Year

Posted on 03/04/2021
Suzy Zerr

Dr. Suzy Zerr, instructional coach at Harvest Ridge Elementary, was selected as the 2020-21 District Teacher of the Year for the Francis Howell School District (FHSD).

“Suzy is reliable, trustworthy, and a true model of an educator who will do whatever it takes to support others,” said Dr. Natalie Deweese, Harvest Ridge principal. “It is without a doubt that Suzy is a valuable member of the Harvest Ridge team and we are fortunate to have her working tirelessly every day with our staff and students.”

“I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything but a teacher,” said Dr. Zerr. “As a child my parents set up a chalkboard, hanging map and desks in the basement. I ‘encouraged’ the neighborhood kids to be my students as I started practicing my craft.”

Dr. Zerr began her teaching career 15 years ago in Sullivan, MO, where she taught fifth grade at Sullivan Elementary for two years before moving to the Lincoln County R-3 school district. For the next six years, she taught fourth and fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary.

“I’m a proud graduate of the Francis Howell School District,” she said. “There were many influential teachers along the way. There were those who built a strong connection with me, those who pushed me academically, those who saw leadership potential in me, and those who had confidence in me even when I didn’t. I wanted to be all that and more to my future students, and my dream was to do that in Francis Howell.”

In 2014, she accepted a position as a fifth-grade teacher at Henderson Elementary in FHSD. In 2019, she moved to Harvest Ridge to become their instructional coach. This year she splits her role between instructional coach and administrative intern.

Dr. Zerr says she knew early on in her career that she enjoyed empowering adults just as much as she enjoyed inspiring students. With that, she began to seek out leadership opportunities that allowed her to share her passion with other educators, which would then impact the students in their classrooms.

“Suzy leads with her heart and puts the needs of students and staff first,” Dr. Deweese said. “She listens deeply to teachers and follows up quickly with coaching and resources to support their learning and their students. As a learner herself, she is always reading and researching to not only help herself grow, but to also provide new learning and resources to staff.”

Zerr says she was always eager to lead beyond the walls of her classroom. She completed her doctorate in Teacher Leadership in 2018 and enjoys coaching PLC teams, facilitating professional learning, writing curriculum, and serving on building and District committees.

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