2014 Jordan Larson Award Recipient
As a product of small town Iowa Catholic education, Susan Eldridge knew from the moment she entered Iowa State as a freshman in Elementary Education that her future was going back to what she treasured-Catholic schools. After graduation, she taught preschool and third grade in her son’s Catholic school. She enjoyed teaching, but was frustrated when administrators left her small school every two or three years which meant teachers often had to start over with new initiatives and goals. When the current administrator announced she was leaving after only two years, Mrs. Eldridge saw the opportunity to provide some stability at Sacred Heart School by getting her administrative degree.
While she went to Iowa State for her master’s degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Mrs. Eldridge also filled the role of Lead Teacher under the supervision of the assistant superintendent from the Diocesan Office of Education. Upon graduation in May 2014, she was officially named principal at Sacred Heart School in Boone, Iowa. As principal, Mrs. Eldridge is in a unique position to be able to create a plan for academic, spiritual, and managerial aspects that will be viable for the long-term vision of the school.
“Teaching at Sacred Heart prior to becoming the administrator allowed me to be a part of the culture, to understand our school’s unique needs, and see the Diocesan goals for the long-term success of the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sioux City. I already knew where we wanted to go and what had been done to start the process. It was a wonderful way to transition to administrator,” says Mrs. Eldridge. Under her guidance, the school has undergone a replacement of the 50-year-old heating system with the addition of air conditioning, hiring of additional teaching staff to meet the growing enrollment, implementing MTSS, and is increasing Catholic identity in the classroom and school community.