After over 27 years in the Postal Service and after founding a non-profit organization to provide after school academic support to students in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, Susie Schlehuber turned her passion for helping students to opening a charter school. Susie’s nominator said watching Susie turn her dream into reality was fulfilling.
Susie had a dream and a vision to start a school. It has been incredibly rewarding to see how much love and compassion she has put into making this school an amazing school. Susie goes above and beyond for her employees and her students and families.”
Before opening the school, Susie supported students through the EUP Learning Center, offering after-school support for students who struggled to meet the academic requirements of their schools. Susie said some of the experiences from the learning center are what made her want to continue in education.
I remember from the years in the tutoring center, students would come in and be so defeated. We worked more on their self-confidence along with the academics. One little guy had been with us from 4th grade until 6th grade and tried school without tutoring and then came back about a month or two later for a little more support and after leaving, I hadn’t heard from him again. Years later, I ran into his mother in the grocery store one day and asked how he was doing and she said he’s valedictorian of the school system he was in.”
Lake Superior Academy opened its doors in 2016 in Sault Ste. Marie and currently supports 85 students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. LSA students gain unique classroom experiences including getting to learn in the great outdoors of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Susie said LSA allows students to be on an equal playing field, something that may not be possible in a traditional classroom.
I love that all students seem to be on an equal playing field regardless of economic status, academic ability or so many other factors that are measured in many traditional settings. We seem to eliminate as many of those as possible so we’re all the same coming to school together to accomplish our individual goals.
Susie said she loves being able to really make a difference in the lives of her students.
I think it makes a difference in other people’s lives and I see changes that come about in students' lives through the work that’s done at the school and that makes it worthwhile,” Susie said.
Founding and operating a charter school does not come without its challenges. Susie’s nominator said Susie is able to face any issue and problem and cares deeply about her students, parents and staff.
Susie, when presented with a problem whether it is big or small, handles it with such grace. Whenever making a decision she always looks to what is best for that child/family or employer. Susie is very easy to talk to and listen to with a true heart and that is not a quality many people have. I am proud to be a teacher at her school and plan to be there for as long as I can under her leadership. I hope she knows how much she is appreciated by so many.”