I believe that all students are capable of creating the future they want for themselves. 

Hey, I’m Susannah

I believe that all students are capable of creating the future they want for themselves. 

Being prepared for and having access to educational opportunities is something both parents and students want.

Why does this feel so unattainable or scary for some people?

If the content students are learning in school was all they needed to set them up for success, they’d be thriving!

What students actually need to be successful in school are things like getting started right away on their homework, sticking with it long enough to finish it and actually handing it in on time. 

What’s most important for students to know is that there is nothing wrong with them if they are struggling in school. It’s the system itself that’s not working. They are not learning the critical skills needed to get stuff done and there are things within their control they can do about it.

Who’s teaching them how to do this? I AM!

As an executive function coach, I partner with students to explore systems, habits and mindsets that facilitate learning HOW to learn. I build trusting relationships that empower students to set meaningful goals and actively direct their learning so they are in charge of their future.

I have an M.Ed. in developmental psychology and have grown my expertise throughout the past 25 years working in the field of education. I have taught at all levels from preschool through college. For decades, I worked in educational settings as an early childhood educator, integrated middle school teacher, specialised autism therapist, learning support teacher and college professor.

Here are some other things you might want to know about my work:

In 2016, I started collaborating with a colleague, Julie Dunstan, and we created a model for developing Flexible Mindsets for self-directed learning. I am now the managing director of reFLEXions® to provide resources, professional coaching and consultation to build Flexible Mindsets that help educators to reframe teaching as an equitable pathway towards building resilience and adaptability for ALL students.

We have also had the pleasure (and pain) of writing a book together called Flexible Mindsets in School: Channeling Brain Power for Critical Thinking, Complex Problem-Solving and Creativity. This book is the culmination of our decades of experience in education and captures our combined expertise and shared belief that the goals for education need to be transformed to ensure that students love learning and are active, resilient and adaptable. If you are interested in reading the book, you can purchase it on Amazon or your favourite online retailer.

But what makes me particularly qualified to be a coach? 

Confession time… I was not a straight A student! In fact, learning never came easily to me. I had to work hard for B’s and C’s (and D’s in math) and I always felt like I was missing something when I looked at what other students were doing. They were getting stuff done in half the time it took me and getting better grades than me.  What was I missing?

It took me a long time to figure this out, but eventually, I accepted that my brain was different and that I needed to use tricks (that’s what I thought they were back then) to get stuff done. 

Like I needed to write extensive checklists to remember what I needed to do and I had to make a plan before writing an essay.

My slow reading pace really caught up with me in university when I had to read massive amounts of information daily. I finally figured out how to skim for main ideas and details while reading. To this day, I have to set aside more time than most people to read. It just takes me longer.

I now know these ‘tricks’ I found to learn are actually called strategies and that everyone benefits from figuring out what strategies work for their unique brain. 

I wished there was someone that could have helped me figure all of this out sooner and supported me to have more confidence in myself to become whoever I wanted to be.

I learned the hard way.  My 8th grade guidance counsellor didn’t believe in me, so I had to figure all this out on my own.

During a planning session for high school, despite knowing that I wanted to become a psychologist (at that time), my guidance counsellor recommended that I not take the track in high school that would allow me to go to university and ultimately become a psychologist. She thought it would be too hard for me.  

What she failed to consider was who I am as a person. I have always been incredibly resourceful. If there is something I want, I figure out a way to make it happen. After hearing her limiting beliefs about me, I decided right then and there that I was enrolling in the higher level track at high school and I was going to university. My entire education from that point forward was driven by my desire to prove her wrong… AND I DID! 

I know from experience that if you want to keep options open for the future (because what 13-year-old knows for sure what they want to be and how to get there), you need to figure out how your brain works and use strategies to maximize your learning. 

If you can do that, you can learn anything for the rest of your life!

You may also want a coach who has been there, knows how to help figure out what skills you’re missing and believes you are capable of being successful; however you define that for yourself. 

Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Coaching Statement

Creating an anti-bias and anti-racist coaching practice is a lifelong process that requires constant learning/unlearning, action, speaking up and reflection. To embrace this stance, I continually and intentionally seek to:

BE CURIOUS – identify and unlearn deeply held biases, racist beliefs and practices and cultivate a personal practice of ongoing learning and reflection.

BE ACCOUNTABLE align my values with my actions by engaging in critical self-examination of how whiteness manifests in my life and build relationships with people of colour and other white people striving to be anti-racist.

BE AUTHENTIC – develop my capacity to notice the ways bias and racism show up in my coaching practice and challenge myself and others to think critically about privilege, bias, stereotyping and all forms of discrimination.

BE COURAGEOUS – be vulnerable and take action toward building a more just society even in the face of self-doubt and perfectionism. 

BE RESPONSIBLE – invest in professional development and skill building aimed at creating an equitable, anti-racist coaching practice and contribute time and funds to marginalized people and local organizations working to change oppressive systems.

BE SUPPORTIVE –  support others to explore identities, respect a range of human differences, recognize injustice and bias and speak up for the rights of others. 

BE COLLABORATIVE – amplify the voices and work of historically marginalized people and celebrate different ways of knowing and being in the world.