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Barry University Faculty

Dr. Susan Hildebrand

Assistant Professor of Education, Special Education

Dr. Susan Hildebrand, Assistant Professor

"When working with individuals with exceptionalities, you must balance their needs against the obstacles so often present . . . remember your student comes first!"

Degrees Held:

  • PhD in Leadership and Education, Specialization in Exceptional Student Education – Barry University, 2009
  • MS in Education, Exceptional Student Education with ESOL Endorsement – Barry University, 2004
  • Bachelor of Arts, Interpersonal Communications – Trinity University, 2002

Career Highlights:

Dr. Hildebrand has worked in the educational field for over 15 years in varying capacities, including teacher, reading specialist, reading coach, department chair (special education, reading, ESOL, and world languages), ESE and ESOL specialist, assistant principal, and acting school administrator. She has authored and received a number of grants while serving in the latter capacities, and she has presented at a number of conferences for both exceptional student education and reading.

She has taught numerous courses for Barry University, including Introduction to Special Education, Curriculum Design in ESE, Learning Strategies in ESE, Assessment to Inform Instruction, Educational Management of Students with Exceptionalities, Foundations of Reading, Reading in the Content Area, and the Reading Diagnosis and Intervention Practicum. Dr. Hildebrand has also taught computer software courses both at the university level as well as in private companies.

In which online degree program do you teach?

MS in Exceptional Student Education

Which classes do you teach online?

ESE 510: Educational Management of Students with Exceptionalities, ESE 524: Instructional Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities, and ESE 665: Collaborative Practices in Inclusive Curriculum Design

What do you want students to take away from your courses?

I want my students to come away from my courses with a renewed energy for teaching and a deepened love for students with exceptionalities. I want them to know that they are their students' greatest champions and they must have a solid foundation for learning and growth.

What advice would you give to students considering the online MS in Exceptional Student Education program?

Be excited about all the new things you will learn: about your students, about your profession, and about yourself. Be prepared to work hard, but also remember that working hard will lead to great rewards!

What qualities make someone particularly successful in education?

Dedication, compassion, love of learning, adaptability, creativity, and a strong moral compass are all key ingredients in this field. A sense of humor is also a must because it will keep you and your students grounded.

What do you think is the biggest challenges educators face today?

When working individuals with exceptionalities, you must balance their needs against the obstacles so often present in today's society (school and district educational mandates, employment issues, spoken and/or unspoken biases towards them, etc.) . . . remember your student comes first!

Why did you start teaching?

Dan Rather once said, "The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth." In simple, eloquent words, Mr. Rather accurately summed up my rationale for beginning and continuing to teach. I am one who believes, tugs, pushes, leads, and sometimes even uses that "sharp stick of truth" to inspire, motivate, and move my students onward to their ultimate potential—be they children, adolescents, or adults.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

I actually have two! To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know about you.

As you may have noticed from the second book I selected above, I'm a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. In a school for students with disabilities, my last name was difficult to pronounce, so students called me "Dr. Sue." That rapidly transformed into "Dr. Sue-ss" and has stayed that way ever since in all the schools in which I have taught.

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