Suzanne Long spent 25 years teaching in the Averill Park Central School District and is retiring this month.
“The Averill Park School District has always been special to me,” she said, adding that she graduated from Averill Park in 1984. “I have such fond memories of my childhood years here. I also completed my student teaching at West Sand Lake Elementary School. I have always been grateful to Dr. Larry Schrader for giving me my first opportunity to teach. I have loved this career and this district.”
Over the years, Mrs. Long has made many lasting memories. One that sticks out is her first year, when she didn’t even have a classroom.
“I taught in the cafeteria/gymnasium,” she said. “I was so excited I didn’t care where I taught. I remember many late nights, walking out with the custodians, trying to make everything perfect for when the students arrived. I absolutely loved it! I knew God meant for me to teach. There was never any doubt that this is what I was meant to do.”
Other great memories come from the relationships that she has built with students and colleagues.
“I have worked with the most amazing people. We’ve worked very hard and shared lots of laughter along the way,” she said. “I have extremely special memories of teaching both of my boys during my career. I will always cherish those years.
“I will miss the moments with the students, those moments when something you’ve been working on with your students suddenly clicks and you see their eyes light up and you know they finally got it,” she added. “I will miss moments when I know I’m teaching them more than just academics. The teachable moments about getting along with one another, overcoming challenges, and how to handle our emotions. Watching my students grow both academically and emotionally was the most rewarding part of my job. I learned to never underestimate a student’s potential. Kids are incredible and they can surprise you.”
Mrs. Long’s husband retired two years ago and she is eager to join him. They plan to travel, with their first trip being to the Grand Canyon with their two sons.
“I’m looking forward to spending time with our family and being able to help our parents out,” she said. “I really enjoy exercise and fitness, so I’m excited to pursue some personal goals in that area. I’m also looking forward to doing a little substitute teaching for the district.”