SUSAN PRITCHARD, Ph.D.
About Susan Pritchard
“She makes learning fun. I like that. I'm never bored in this class.” – Reginald Dequit, eighth-grader, Washington Middle School
“She will do anything and everything possible to help a kid that needs help. Anytime you see that it inspires people.” – Matt Bridgeford, history teacher, Washington Middle School
“She lives it and talks it and breathes it and wants that for every student that comes in her classroom.” – Mario Carlos, principal, Washington Middle School
“You've got to introduce them to as many different experiences as possible in education at this age. You can grab them at this age and get their excitement building and then just let them take off.”
Pritchard experienced a similar revelation about teaching while she was exploring career paths as a student at UC Irvine, observing teachers in an Irvine Unified school.
Though she was only required to put in 20 hours a week, Pritchard visited the school every day.
“I had fun working with the children and I had fun learning with them,” Pritchard said. “That just led to me becoming a teacher.”
In high school, Pritchard thought she'd become a microbiologist, but teaching resonated better with her personality.
“I learned fast enough that Petri dishes don't talk,” Pritchard said. “I'm more of a people person than a lab person.”
Pritchard had been teaching sixth grade for two years when, in 1989, the principal asked if she would teach science.
It was scary at first. She had no experience teaching science and she felt lost.
“That led me to explain to my husband that we would be spending thousands of dollars a year of our own money to be getting me to professional development courses and classes that would enhance what I'm doing,” Pritchard said.
The classes – and her research – paid off.
Pritchard was named 2006 Orange County Middle School Science Teacher of the Year and has served as president of the California Science Teachers Association. She holds degrees from four different institutions including a doctorate from Claremont Graduate School.