Employee Spotlight: Susan Harding

by Vicki Heisser  |   

PWSC: Thank you for doing this interview, Susan. I know you currently work at the Cordova Extension Site for PWSC. What originally brought you and your family to Cordova, and what is your role at the Cordova Extension Site? 

SH:  I am a retired teacher who is still teaching through the dual-credit program between the College and Cordova High School. In addition to teaching classes, I am the campus coordinator. 

My family moved to Cordova in 1975 because my husband was called to be the pastor of the Cordova Community Baptist Church.  The following year I became the director of the Cordova Community Christian Center, a position I still hold.

PWSC: Even after you retired from teaching, you continued to teach through the dual-credit program. Who influenced you to become a teacher?

SH: My second-grade teacher influenced me to become a teacher and I always wanted to teach school from that time forward.  I love helping kids learn. 

PWSC: What classes are you presently teaching? If you teach a lesson and your students don't seem to be "getting it," what do you do?

SH: I am presently teaching sociology and Photoshop classes.  When I teach a class and students don’t seem to get it, I try presenting it in a different way and work with them one on one.

PWSC: Though you aren’t teaching it, I know you played a role in offering a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) class beginning this semester, and have 11 students enrolled, which is fantastic. What was involved to provide this class and who will be teaching it?

SH: The CNA class started and the large enrollment was a surprise.  It just sort of boomeranged after we advertised it.  We actually had 12 students enroll.  Our instructor was Nicole Piche who has taught this course in the past.  She has a 100% pass rate for the state exam which is impressive and a big blessing. 

PWSC: What do you enjoy most about your job and what are the challenges?

SH: I enjoy teaching best. The rewards are seeing students pursue their goals and have high school students graduate with their Associate of Arts as they also graduate from high school. I am most challenged by communication issues. 

PWSC: Any advice to students that are looking towards furthering their education? 

SH: I think being able to get a two-year degree is very helpful for transferring to a four-year university, but it is essential to plan well and take the right courses which will transfer.  I also think students should not rule out vocational schools if that is where their passion is.

PWSC: We’ve talked about your work, but what about where you live? What do you enjoy most about living in Cordova? Any best kept secrets about the community that you'd care to share?

SH:  I love living in Cordova because I enjoy the small town and having hardly any places to shop. You have to really want to come here to visit.  Now that the ferry is non-operational, we have to rely on air for travel.  The best place to visit in Cordova is the Million Dollar Bridge, but with the road washed out and no plans to fix it, you have to really want to go.

One of the things people love to say about Cordova is that it is the best-kept secret in Alaska and that it is a friendly town.  I think both of those are true.