Susan Sparrow teaches eighth grade history in the Middle School and 20th century world history in the Upper School. She particularly enjoys classroom simulations, debates, and any activity that gets students to put themselves in the real-life situations that world leaders face. “There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of becoming a world leader for a day,” she says.
“My wish for students is that they think for themselves. There is so much information at our fingertips today that knowing how to wade through bias and opinion to get the facts is what’s really important. In a world as globalized as ours, it is crucial that students can talk about other cultures on a deeper level than what they read in the headlines, and that they understand the history behind conflicts that have lasted for decades. I don’t just want students to leave my class with knowledge; I want them to leave my class hungry for more.”
Sparrow studied the Middle East at Cambridge University and graduated from Pomona College with a degree in politics. Her interest in history and current events began much earlier. In high school she was named one of YM Magazine’s 20 Coolest Girls of the Year for leading a successful student lobbying effort to pass pay equity legislation in her home state of Utah. In 2015 she was listed at No. 3—after none other than equal pay pioneer Lilly Ledbetter and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—on a New York Times list of influential leaders fighting for equal pay for women in the workforce in honor of Equal Pay Day. Susan received the Parent Association’s Inspirational Faculty Award in 2013 and is the 2014-2017 Stephen F. Bayne Jr. Chair of History and Ethics.
In addition to teaching, she coaches Middle School girls’ soccer and basketball. In 2012 she married Nick Zosel-Johnson, a fourth grade teacher at Charles Wright, whom she met in college.
“When I interviewed at Charles Wright, I met with 15 different faculty members,” says Sparrow. “The amount of time and faculty involvement in bringing a new teacher to CWA left me with the impression that this is a community that truly values teacher input and collaboration between teachers and administrators. And everyone had such a sense of humor! It was clear to me my first day on campus that students at CWA not only respect and learn from their teachers, but they have fun with them too. That’s the way school should be.”
In her spare time Sparrow enjoys Scrabble, clamming, and lawn sports. In college she was a regional women’s ping-pong champ. She does not like hot dogs.