Katt credits the people in her life for her amazing teaching career

George Browning

As is the case with many teachers who enter the teaching field, Susan Katt was inspired by a teacher of her own.

She recalls helping her kindergarten teacher, Opal Kramer, grade papers on a blanket in her backyard and that’s where the desire to teach began.

“She was my inspiration to become a caring and loving teacher,” Katt said.

Katt graduated from the University of Evansville in 1984, with a primary K-3 teaching degree with a specialization in the early 1980s.

Out of college, she was hired to teach at East Washington in 1984, and that’s where she has spent her entire 36 year teaching career.   

Katt said she just knew this was the right time to step away.

“I retired last August, 2020, during COVID,” she said. “After teaching during COVID for nine weeks the previous year, I decided this was the right time for me to retire during the pandemic. I was always told that I would know the right time and I surely did! I already  miss my East Washington family and students.”

Katt taught third grade for four years and second grade for 32 years.

“I was fortunate to work for outstanding principals, Dean Weller, Stacy Richardson, and Debbie Esarey. They made our school family so special. I have fond memories of working with so many talented staff members that I will cherish forever.”
There weren’t many things about teaching that Katt didn’t enjoy, but she said reading was always her favorite.

“I have loved teaching all subjects during my tenure,” Katt said. “Teaching reading was a delight as I’m an avid reader myself. It was joyful to read Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House chapter books to my students and then watch them select their own to read and delight in them!

“Science was always fun, as each Friday a different student would be our ‘Friday Scientist’ and perform an experiment for us that he or she had practiced at home.”

Katt said math was more difficult for her growing up, so she tried to find different ways to make it easier for her students using manipulatives and food items.

In addition to being inspired by her kindergarten teacher, she credits another mentor, whose class was next to hers, for helping her learn and grow in the teaching profession.

“When I first started teaching, I was fortunate to have Doris Rickard as a neighbor in third grade,” Katt said. “She took me under her wing and taught me so much more than college did!”

As for how the profession has changed, she said the biggest difference is the technology.

“When I began teaching, there wasn’t a computer in the building,” she said. “At the end of my career, each child had their own ipad and I was using a huge smartboard in the front of my classroom to instruct students. That was the biggest change I noticed.”

While Katt is missing teaching, she said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family. She said it was them who really helped her to have the successful career that she did.

“I appreciate all the support shown to me through my teaching years by my family - husband Doug, son Andrew, daughter Chelsea, daughter-in-law Natalie, and my parents Leon and Judy Zink,” she said.


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