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View From Vis: Meet Learning Specialist Susan Russomanno

Susan Russomanno is the Upper School Learning Specialist at Vis. Let's get to know her a little better!

Susan holds a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. She is certified in all levels of the Orton-Gillingham Approach, which is a direct, explicit, multi-sensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic and prescriptive way to teach literacy. She infuses this approach with the work she does with the students at Vis. 

1. How long have you been the Learning Specialist at Vis?
I started this position in 2005 when my daughter, Amanda, was in Montessori at Vis and my son, Michael, was entering kindergarten at Vis. Amanda graduated as a lifer from Vis in 2019 and Michael graduated from Vis 6th grade in 2012 and then was an STA graduate in 2018. It’s hard to believe I started in this position that long ago.

2. What does your job as Upper School Learning Specialist entail?
As the Upper School Learning Specialist, I mainly work with students who have a diagnosis and are allowed academic accommodations at school. I support these students in the areas of general study skills, test-taking, time-management, organization, self-advocacy and more. My goal is to help the girls understand how they learn, their strengths and challenges and to guide them as they grow and develop into independent, strong young women.

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Hands down the most rewarding part of my job is the girls! I often say that I am lucky to love going to work every day and it is due to the girls. They are hardworking, compassionate, smart, strong young women who persevere each and every day to find success. They are amazing humans and the reason I love what I do.

4. What do you see as "the Vis difference"? 
Vis is unique because we are not only the only independent, all-girls, Catholic, college-preparatory school in Minnesota, but we also embrace the little virtues such as gentleness and patience through the Salesian Spirituality that permeates our community. Furthermore, as one of favorite quotes by John Merrow states, "I have said it before, and I will say it again: schools must be led by people who see a child and ask, 'How is this child intelligent rather than how intelligent is this child?'" I believe Vis does this well and it is a part of what creates the Vis difference.

5. Lightning Round: What is your favorite... 

Activity to do in your spare time?
Cooking, long walks, spending time with my family

Food to cook/bake?
I love making new dishes, especially anything that involves chicken, and adding my own twist to a recipe

Show to binge watch?
One of my favorite series of all-time is Ted Lasso. I love sports shows and this one is funny yet heartwarming; the writing is amazing.

Time of day?
My favorite time of the day is early morning when I am having a cup of Nespresso, the sun is about to come up, and the world is still. 

Vis memory?
My favorite Vis memory is the day I started my position as Upper School Learning Specialist. Not only was it my first day, but my daughter Amanda was having her first day of Montessori and my son Michael was having his first day of kindergarten at Vis. I keep a picture on my desk that captured that moment!

Many thanks to Susan Russomanno for sharing her thoughts. We are #visproud!