Retiring principal reflects on 20 years in Tabernacle School District

Susan Grosser sought to make difference in students’ lives

Susan Grosser and staff members are pictured posing in front of a ‘Best Principal Ever’ sign (Emily Grosser/ Special to The Sun).

Three decades in education is ending for a Tabernacle administrator whose main purpose was for kids to be seen and heard.

The end of the school year for district Principal Susan Grosser was celebrated June 18, as students and coworkers drove by her daughter Emily’s home to give the veteran a warm send-off to retirement.

The tributes brought tears to her eyes.

“I felt good because the people here today, they’ve been great supporters and they do a great job,” Grosser said.

“The one thing I feel bad about is not seeing the kids,” she added of the truncated school year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “That was tough and what hit me the hardest.”

Grosser’s introduction to education and the district came nearly 20 years ago, where she sought to make a difference in kids’ lives, starting with accepting differences in others.

Originally from Fairfax County, Virginia, Grosser had raised her own four children to recognize those differences and embrace them, something she is adamant about.

“I’ve had conversations where a parent would call and say, ‘I don’t want my kid in with those kids,’ and I’d say, ‘Which kids would you be talking about?’ I knew darn well what they were talking about, and I would say, ‘That doesn’t happen with me.’”

Grosser recommended professionals to the district who had more than one credential tied to their names, in order to further the schools’ mission and make positive improvements.

Her own shift from fifth grade teacher to Olson Middle School principal spurred Grosser’s drive to make a difference in students’ lives.

To deal with misbehavior in class, Grosser would sit a student down and try to turn their actions  into a teaching lesson.

The educator also relished her favorite activity with kids: dressing up for Halloween.

“I would make a day of it for dressing up because kids loved dressing up,” she explained. “We instilled it in the middle school because it’s never been done before; it was done at the elementary school.”

For middle school students’ birthdays, Grosser would call a student to her office and hand them a small gift. Some stayed for conversations with her. When she transitioned to the role of a  district-wide principal in January, she recognized elementary students’ birthdays by sharing lunch and posting pictures on internal TV screens.

In her three decades of education in the 670-student district, Grosser has come across different generations of kids both as a teacher and an administrator. She has urged adults to let kids have a carefree spirit.

“Kids are kids,” she noted. “It’s the adults who don’t let them be kids.

“I love kids and what they bring to the table and society, because that’s what our society is,” Grosser added. “It’s what our kids are going to bring and it’s kept me young. I’m going to keep young, as I have 10 grandchildren of my own and everything I do at school, I do with them and they know it.”