Susan Bunting: An Advocate for Children, Especially Those Most in Need
Last week I spoke to my longtime colleague Dr. Susan Bunting about the news that she would be leaving her post as Delaware’s Secretary of Education.
Navigating the politics of a state system of public education in 2021 (not to mention during a pandemic) is a 24/7 job, and one not filled with too many thank-you notes. In that spirit, thank you Dr. Bunting for being an amazing advocate for children, particularly those most in need.
Dr. Bunting has been educating Delaware’s young people for the last four decades. On a professional level, anyway. Her passion runs much deeper. She once told us:
“My mother was an educator, so I think this was always bred into me. I am one of those people who was reading to babies in utero and to infants.”
I was glad to hear that Dr. Bunting wants to find ways to keep on contributing; but not surprised. I recall visiting her in the Indian River School District around 20 years ago. I was amazed by her passion for teaching teachers and her pioneering work in early learning. Dr. Bunting expanded preschool in Indian River and focused on English learners, which showed impacts throughout high school and graduation. She spearheaded a “grow your own” leadership academy in the district and partnerships with innovative efforts like Teach For America and RELAY Graduate School of Education.
Despite being a decorated educator and administrator (in 2012 she was one of four finalists for the American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year award), Dr. Bunting exuded genuine excitement about learning.
In 2008, when Rodel took a group of educators to learn about how our neighbors to the north in Edmonton were doing their work, she and her team jumped at the opportunity. In 2006, when it came time to build a coalition of public and private leaders to lead what came to be known as the Vision Coalition, her combination of results and openness to new ideas made her a great founding member. It’s been an honor to serve alongside her in this Coalition since its inception.
Beyond the formal meetings, I so appreciate Susan as a colleague and a friend. Through the wins and head winds, she’s carried herself with humility and grace. Thank you very much Dr. Bunting for all you’ve done for generations of children here in the First State, and best of luck in the next chapter.