Retired teacher lends experience to JA volunteering

Susan Zapata shines as an exceptional JA volunteer

From finance directors and accountants, to CEOs, engineers and IT professionals, Junior Achievement (JA) volunteers come from all types of professions and share a wide range of skills, experiences and perspectives. For retired teacher Susan Zapata, that experience includes 30 years of teaching K-6th grade students in Des Plaines, IL, and nearly 10 years of teaching students in Europe and the Middle East.

After retiring from her job in Illinois, Susan traveled to Europe. She spent four years at the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin teaching 6th grade students and serving as an assistant principal, curriculum coordinator, staff developer and English teacher. She also taught for four years in Kuwait, teaching 1st and 2nd grade children a variety of subjects. After returning to the United States, Susan’s passion for young people and for helping them learn had her back in the classroom after only nine months – this time as a JA volunteer.

“It was natural for me to volunteer with JA and to teach kindergarten, first and second grade classes. I love JA’s first grade curriculum, and the kindergarten program is amazing,” said Susan.

Susan is one of JA’s top volunteers, having taught 93 JA classes to date, and inspiring 2,221 students.

“Susan is fantastic,” said Charlene Moser, JA program manager.  “Her experience in the classroom makes her uniquely equipped to work well with teachers, engage students of every age, and make the most of every JA lesson. She is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of young people and believes wholeheartedly in their potential to succeed.  Susan truly embodies JA’s mission.”

During the 2016/17 school year, Susan is already scheduled to teach eight K-2 classes and a high school class and, on average, volunteers in 25 JA classrooms a year.

In addition to her time spent volunteering with JA, Susan serves on the Boulder County Aging Advisory Council and three of the organization’s subcommittees. She also is on the board of the Aging Services Foundation and she sings and serves on the board of Jubilate Sacred Singers.

Are you a retired teacher looking for a fun way to use your experience to continue to benefit young people? To sign up as a volunteer, go to: