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Mississippi Susan
By Anne Marie Goslak

The Heart of a Teacher

The Mississippi River is a mighty, massive, constant force of nature. It influences everything in its path, forever leaving the environment around it changed. Yet, if you trace it back to its beginning, it is so small; it would be easy to overlook. It looks like any other stream, just twenty feet wide. It makes you wonder how something so amazing could start with such humble beginnings.

That's the image that comes to mind when I think of my friend and fellow teaching professional, Susan Sidden. Susan's love of teaching could be traced back to one moment in time, when she was just six years old. Susan tells the story, "I was standing next to my teacher, holding her hand and looking up at her. At that exact moment, I thought to myself, "I want to be just like her!"

From that tiny moment, came a lifetime of teaching.

Susan received her undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and went on to complete two Masters. She was a beloved teacher at Mocksville, Pine Brook and Shady Grove Elementary, before completing her career as the Curriculum Director for Wilkes County Schools. Modern day, it is impossible for Susan to walk into a local restaurant without her bumping into one of her former students. Each has a story of how Susan influenced their lives in a positive way

After a distinguished career, one would think that Susan would have retired and spent the rest of her days playing golf with her husband and friends. But Susan's love for teaching kids did not stop the day she left the school system. Susan hoped to find a way to combine golf and teaching children.

The First Tee of the Triad seemed like a natural fit. Their curriculum was designed to teach life skills, thru the game of golf, with the help of volunteer instructors. Susan played an integral part in helping that chapter get started, and was a nationally recognized coach. During her tenure, Susan introduced the game of golf to hundreds of young children, before leaving the organization in 2011.

A continuous learner, Susan began thinking of ways to increase her knowledge of teaching golf. If she was going to be more than a well-meaning volunteer, she needed to take her education to the next level. She joined the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division. There, Susan excelled, passing the Playing Ability Test, written exams and teaching practical with flying colors. She joined an elite group of less than 2,000 professionals, worldwide, who have the LPGA Class A certification.

In 2015, Susan and I started the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Club of Oak Valley. Several Sundays a year, you will find us surrounded by a host of little girls. They are playing games. They are learning skills. But most of all, they are having fun making a connection with each other and to the game of golf.

Recently, Susan has been approved to teach private and group lessons to both boys and girls at Oak Valley Golf Club. It has been a long and winding road to get to this place. Along the way, Susan has influenced, inspired, motivated and educated. She has been a force of nature in the class room and now on the lesson tee. She still reminds me of the Mississippi River. I marvel at how far she has come and I am amazed at the impact she has made on her environment along the way.

For more information about private lessons or the LPGA USGA Girls Golf Club, contact Susan Sidden at SiddenSusan@aol.com 336-909-0078 or visit www.GolfwithAnneMarie.com

-Anne Marie Goslak