Wineland, Chair of Modern Language Department, Retires
At the end of this school year, Susan Wineland will officially retire from her 23 years as a Spanish teacher and nine years as Modern Language Department Chair (2007-2016) at Hopkins School.
Early on in life, Wineland found her place as an educator. For seven summers in high school and beyond, she worked as a swimming instructor and lifeguard. Wineland said, “I always really enjoyed teaching. I started really young teaching swimming, and as a volunteer lifeguard. So I really enjoyed working with people and seeing them learn.”
Her growing passion for teaching and for the Spanish language culminated with her work with the Red Cross in 1972, for the three months she taught classes in Tlaxcala Mexico. At this time, her love for teaching Spanish began to flourish. In 1974, she graduated from American University with a major in Latin American Area Studies, and she went on to teach bilingual education in New Haven. After receiving her master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport, Wineland worked as an assistant in water therapy and a Spanish tutor.
As Wineland’s four children got older, she began to work part-time as a Spanish teacher at Laurelton Hall in Milford. This soon changed when her second daughter began school at Hopkins. Retired Director of Academics Rosemary Benedict hired her 23 years ago and says now, “I lured Ms. Wineland away from Laurelton Hall to teach Spanish here at Hopkins. At the time, I was Director of Academics and in charge of hiring. One of the best decisions I made! She is the quintessential independent school person - an outstanding teacher, department head, adviser and coach. She cares deeply for the students and juggles successfully her many roles here. I wish her much happiness in her well-deserved retirement!” Soon, the part-time job Hopkins offered Wineland teaching Spanish quickly became a full-time job.
Wineland spoke about what attracted her about Hopkins: “I think the kids [at Hopkins] are so very talented, they are sharp thinkers, they put things together quickly, they always like to succeed, and they don’t mind working hard and facing challenged. They do their work, the classes are small, which is fantastic in language classes because [teacher] get to hear students speak more, and everyone can participate more.”
“What I love the most is planning and prepping for my classes, and trying to prepare my students really well for the next level of language-- seeing [my students’] progress,” said Wineland. One of Wineland’s biggest contributions to Hopkins is her instrumental role in hiring modern language teachers in her days as Department Chair. She said, “I’m really proud of the Modern Language Department. I was the head of the Modern Language Department for over ten years, and it is a job I really love. We have a group of really wonderful teachers.” French teacher and current Modern Language Department Chair Tilden Daniels said, “Since my arrival at Hopkins four years ago, Ms. Wineland has been a champion of encouraging student activities such as the annual poetry recitals and the Chinese New Year celebration. She has also been a wonderful mentor for me in my work as department chair. Above all, Señora Wineland has been an enthusiastic teacher who inspires a love of Spanish in her classes! I will miss her leadership and passion for language learning!”
Head Librarian Faye Prendergast said, “Sue Wineland has been a dear colleague and friend for many years. Her enthusiasm, kindness, patience and thoughtfulness are some of the wonderful gifts she has generously shared with all of on the Hill. I’ll miss her laughter and lovely smile, and wish her all the best on her next adventure in life!”
Wineland’s students and advisees also shared the deep impact she has made upon their lives. Hannah Melchinger ’17 said, “I have had the privilege of not only having Ms. Wineland as a teacher for both seventh- and eighth-grade Spanish, but also as my academic adviser for the last three years. She has been there for me through the struggle that is Hopkins high school, through the college process, and she has never let me down.”
Tim Halverson ’17 said, “Ms. Wineland is hands down the nicest person I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with at Hopkins. Every Tuesday and Thursday I walk into the library and there she is greeting me with a huge smile. Her consistent kindness and generosity in the midst of my stress and anxiety helped make my high school experience a great one. This school will be losing a true gem. She has been my advisor, mentor, and friend and I wish her all the best as she leaves Hopkins for the next stage in her life.”
When asked what she would miss most about Hopkins, she did not miss a beat to say, “I’ll miss my colleagues and I’ll miss seeing my students in the classroom every day.”
“I love my students, I love my colleagues and the department. It’s been a really happy career for me--always challenging, but always very rewarding.” Many know her as Señora Wineland, but, more importantly, those that know Sue Wineland will remember her as a passionate educator who contributed immensely to Hopkins community, inside and outside of the classroom.