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School Social Worker of the Year: 2014
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2014 Awardee:  Susanne Schroeder (MN)

The School Social Work Association of America is extremely pleased to honor, Susanne Schroeder as the national 2014 School Social Worker of the Year! 

The Minnesota School Social Workers Association  noted:  "Susanne Schroeder began her social work career in January 1983, after completing her BSW at the University of MN – Mankato. For the first eight years, Susanne worked in three Minnesota counties providing child protection assessment, ongoing case management, adoption and civil commitment screenings. Since 1990, she has worked for the Owatonna Public Schools with students in preschool through grade six, high school and ALC. She has been devoted to early intervention efforts to support young learners. She has served on district diversity committees, worked with teacher colleagues to improve ELL services and provided in-service education for staff. Susanne also worked with a team from her school to incorporate SEL learning into the curriculum. In her position, she directs a non-profit agency, the Children’s Remedial Fund which serves to meet the health needs of over 100 uninsured or underinsured children annually. The greatest gift Susanne reports having in her career is the talented, supportive and devoted colleagues she has served with throughout her time in Owatonna.

 "I accept this award on behalf of all of us who go about our day to day responsibilities seeking no recognition or thank you’s. This work isn’t about counting on others to notice but rather noticing. Suffering people most often seek console in quiet, safe settings. We provide those in moments and times when our attention and care are focused on helping to sort out the road blocks from the possibilities."  Read the rest of Susanne's inspiring Acceptance Speech.

In 1997, Susanne graduated with her MSW from the College of St. Catherine/University of St. Thomas, St. Paul and obtained her LICSW in 2004. In addition to school social work, her experience includes aftercare group facilitation for a substance abuse treatment center, social worker for the Professional Association of Treatment Home, seven years part time as an in-home family therapist and three years’ experience as an associate professor. She has served as the treasurer and membership coordinator for MSSWA since the 2002-03 school years and helped develop the MSSWA database. She is a member of the School Social Workers Association of America. A great passion of hers has been her connection to CulturFest, a community multicultural festival held each September in Owatonna that welcomes 2,500 people, primarily children and families. She has chaired and written grants to support this event since 1999. She serves as a board member of the Owatonna Park and Recreation Scholarship Fund and supports the From the Heart event, a community fundraiser for families facing cancer.

Susanne’s principal Julie Sullivan wrote that, “Sue’s role at Wilson Elementary goes beyond what many social workers do at their schools. She is a valued resource for our students, staff, and families. Working with elementary students is without a doubt, strength of Sue’s. She knows just how to approach the needs of our students and support them no matter what the situation is.”

Sharron Feichtinger, School Social Work Colleague of Susanne, commented that “Sue is one we turn to if we need any information about resources available in our county and beyond that would be beneficial for our students/ families. She has an excellent pulse on the new and ever evolving resources available”.   Another Colleague, Nancy Williams writes “Sue has been instrumental in building community organizations and programs to support and assist individuals that are in need”.

Special Education Teacher Lisa Langer shared, “Sue is one of the most positive people I have ever met. She constantly works with families with huge needs, yet rarely is she discouraged. She has a wealth of knowledge about services for families and has such a respectful way of sharing that information allowing families to feel supported, not ashamed.”

Susanne immigrated to the US as a young child with her mother from Germany. She lives in Owatonna with her husband of 28 years, David. They have four adult children, Andrew, Chelsea, Rachel and Erin – and two new sons-in-law, Arnaud and Colin. She loves to spend time with her family and friends, loves being a parent and enjoys camping, gardening and attending folk music concerts." 

Submitted by the Minnesota School Social Workers Association.   

"As school social workers, we are often in the shadows, working behind the scenes to assist our students, assess barriers and support staff members in meeting student’s needs. Finding myself under the spotlight has been humbling and required courage. This honor allows for recognition and pays tribute to the important work done by school social workers across the country. "   Susanne Schroeder


Congratulations, Susanne!




Proud Minnesota members Deb Brecht, Sharron Feichtinger, Christy McCoy,
Heather Alden Pope and Anne McInerney applaud
Susanne on her achievement!

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