For Benfield Elementary School Principal Sue Myers, parent involvement is a key ingredient in the school’s recipe for success.
“For me, I view my most important job as a principal is to ensure a safe, supportive, enriching environment for teachers to teach, children to learn and for parents to be welcomed and involved,” Myers said.
Before starting at Benfield in 2019, Myers had previous assistant principal stints at a pair of schools plus principal roles at three institutions based in Maryland’s capital, including Monarch Academy Annapolis.
In 2014, Myers was selected as the National Distinguished Principal for Maryland through the National Association of Elementary School Principals. She also served as the president of the Maryland Association of Elementary Principals for 2021 and remains active in the organization.
Now in her 29th year as an educator in Anne Arundel County, Myers, who will oversee 460 students at Benfield this year, believes that educating children is a team effort between the school and home.
“There are so many involved families who support our school, and this makes a difference for our staff and students each day,” Myers said.
Myers noted the parent teacher organization (PTO) is actively engaged and proactively supports teachers and students. The organization created a nature center on the playground for children to explore and learn through play. Additionally, the PTO sponsors assemblies and after-school events such as the variety show.
“Their involvement truly helps to provide a more well-rounded school experience for the students,” Myers said.
Benfield PTO co-presidents Beth Karsner and Elizabeth Somerset shared how Myers is supportive and collaborates closely with the organization on all initiatives.
“Mrs. Myers is the kind of conscientious, caring educator whose vivacious energy and keen eye enables her to see the potential in individuals and the community, to create a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to be their best selves,” Karsner said.
Both ladies noted qualities of Myers, including how she’s a great listener, fair, consistent and approachable. Myers strives to get to know the children’s interests, personalities, strengths and learning styles.
“She is the person who gets kids out of the cars in the morning car line, visiting all the classrooms throughout the day, being the lunch monitor and then sitting down for meetings in the afternoon,” Somerset said. “She does it all.”
Myers praised the work ethic of Benfield’s teachers in supporting each of their students and involving their families.
“Benfield teachers amaze me every day with their knowledge about teaching and ensuring that the lessons meet the needs of all learners,” Myers said. “They are a motivated group and inspire their students to always put their best foot forward and engage in learning.”
Myers values opportunities to encourage children to ask questions about learning, and she believes lessons should be connected to real life, with opportunities to engage in critical thinking.
Myers’ personal learning journey included stints and degrees from the University of Maryland, Loyola University Maryland and Gocher College. She’s also a product of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, graduating from Northeast High School in Pasadena.
“When working with teachers, it is so important to provide them resources, time and feedback so that we are able to grow our students social-emotionally and academically,” Myers said.
Myers knows what it’s like to be on the teacher’s side of things too. She originally began her career as an elementary school teacher in Pasadena at Riviera Beach Elementary School and later served as a behavior specialist at another Anne Arundel County school, Brooklyn Park Elementary.
The principal has a new mathematics curriculum that will be a large part of professional development for teachers.
The school is also expanding writing instruction to provide students the opportunity to write on demand. This entails creating a written piece outside the normal literacy classes to explain their thinking. Myers explained that students may be asked to write a piece during science, social studies or one of the cultural arts classes.
“This will help them develop their skills even more in writing to become proficient writers across all subjects in school,” Myers said.