Faculty Spotlight: Susan Duquette

Lower School Assistant Director and Guidance Counselor for Grades 4 - 6
Department and Program Affiliations:
Lower School, Guidance, Forensics

Over the years, I have coached everything from track to field hockey and lacrosse to cheerleading. I do miss the day-to-day interactions with older students, but as the coordinator and oratory coach for Forensics, along with sponsoring other Lower School clubs and activities, I stay very busy.

Academic background:
B.A., Sociology and Psychology, University of Virginia
MEd., Guidance and Counseling, University of Virginia
How long have you been at Norfolk Academy?
I have been here for 32 years, not counting the two summers prior as the Aquatic Director at the old outdoor pool for Summer Programs!

Tell us why you wanted to become an educator:
Being the oldest girl of nine siblings, I was always taking care of children. I wanted to be in education rather than social work, to have more direct contact with children. There is so much joy in kids. I treasure their curiosity and sense of humor. I really enjoy my classes and the special relationships that have developed through more intimate conversations during counseling. I believe I am a helper by nature, and feel drawn to be present for others.

What most excites you about working at Norfolk Academy?
The people. My colleagues, the children, and all the wonderful families make this a very special place. Additionally, being an independent school, we are encouraged to think outside the box and bring our own perspective to the classroom.  Being able to take advantage of the professional opportunities to grow and expand my role at NA has been so affirming.

Norfolk Academy is unique because…
…of the relationships that you develop over time with students and their families. I am now teaching children of former students. It is so satisfying to see what accomplished adults and parents they all have become.

What do you like to do in your own time/when you’re not working?
I am not a “good sitter” according to my family and friends, so I keep busy by walking everywhere, riding bikes, playing with my grandsons, and taking care of my gardens and house plants. When I do put my feet up, I love to knit and read—I am often several books at the same time.

Last book read:
Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison
Favorite food?
Dark chocolate anything! But I can be easily tempted by a great burger.

A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you?
Diane Keaton
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising:
Most people are aware of the athletic accomplishments of my husband and sons, but I have a few sports successes of my own. I began road racing after becoming a parent. When I started my first year with Norfolk Academy—with three boys in the Lower School and while coaching field hockey—I won the Virginia State Triathlon and earned an entry into the Ironman in Hawaii. I had only six weeks to train for the event. It was an amazing experience that officially ended my road racing and triathlon career.

“When I grow up, I want to be…”
...my husband and I have always talked about wanting to run a Bed and Breakfast. He is a great cook and can fix anything. I take pride in keeping my kitchen and house clean and comfortable. The prospect of meeting and talking with lots of diverse and interesting people is very appealing.