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Susan Roosenraad, high school teacher, Northfield, Minnesota


Susan Roosenraad
High school teacher
Northfield, Minnesota
April 2002

Susan Roosenraad is a 32-year classroom veteran who has taught mathematics from third grade through college in both public and private schools. Although her own range of experience is surely exceptional, Roosenraad sees value in all mathematics teachers working at various levels throughout their careers. She believes that such experience better enables teachers to see the bigger picture of where their students are going and where they have come from. She currently enjoys teaching at the high school level, with its emphasis on academics.

A Michigan native, Roosenraad was educated at the University of Michigan, where she earned a B.S. in mathematics. For the past 18 years, she has taught a wide range of mathematics courses at Northfield High School in Northfield, Minnesota. She spent the 1988–1989 academic year at St. Olaf College as a visiting master teacher in the mathematics department.

Roosenraad chose her career because, at the time, teaching seemed to be one of the few options open to a woman who liked and was good in mathematics. Later, when she had a chance to leave, she loved teaching too much to do so. Parents' appreciation of Roosenraad's efforts is another source of reward and satisfaction.

After Roosenraad earned a master's degree in computer science from Union College, she contemplated a career move into the computer industry. But she found that her love of working with students made her unwilling to leave the classroom. Once she decided to stay in education, Roosenraad used her computing expertise to develop a computer-science curriculum, including an AP course, at Northfield High School.

Roosenraad has worked on state mathematics committees, conducted workshops for mathematics teachers, participated in NSF grants, was a board member of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and has coached Northfield High School's mathematics team since her early years at Northfield. The math team has done well in competition and offers an excellent opportunity for students who like mathematics to associate with other like-minded students. She also appreciates the support from the school system, comparable to that available for sports teams, that the math team and coaches receive.

Should capable young people consider a career in mathematics teaching? Indeed they should, says Roosenraad; mathematically well-trained teachers are desperately needed, and the need will only increase. New teachers will succeed, she adds, by setting and maintaining high standards for themselves and for their students.

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