Retiring Educator Guided by EVSC Teachers ; District's Accountability Chief Says They Pointed Her to Career

By Erbacher, Megan | Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current), June 9, 2014 | Go to article overview

Retiring Educator Guided by EVSC Teachers ; District's Accountability Chief Says They Pointed Her to Career


Erbacher, Megan, Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


Being a teacher was the only thing Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.' s Susan McDowell Riley ever aspired to. After 40 years with the district, McDowell Riley, deputy superintendent for academic affairs and accountability, will retire June 30.

The dedicated and caring teachers she came in contact with while passing through grades at Stringtown and graduating from North High School were her mentors.

"I just wanted to give back in the way that they had given to me. It has been a blessing for me to spend my career here in Evansville," she said. "This is an amazing school district. We have so much to offer our students and I'm glad that I could have been at least a small part of that during my career."

The late Patrick Henry was one particular person McDowell Riley noted as making an impact on her life. She joked he maybe didn't realize it at the time when he was her counselor at North, but he ended up advising and influencing her throughout career choices.

McDowell Riley earned her bachelor's degree in special education through Indiana University and taught for six years - one at Lodge and five at Harper. During that time, she was working toward her master's degree at the University of Southern Indiana. She became very curious about how students are placed in special education and diagnosed as needing those services. She said she wanted more information about how she could make her teaching even more effective if she had student performance data.

She entered a doctoral program at Ball State University for educational measurement and when she came back to the EVSC after one year of absence (a requirement for the program to be on campus during that time) she worked as a school psychologist. In 1983, she was promoted to supervisor of psychological service and, in 1990, she became director of psychological services and was responsible for standardized testing programs in the district.

McDowell was promoted to assistant superintendent for performance assessment and research in 2008, and started working only with standardized testing. And in 2011, she took her current position.

Throughout his 32 years, EVSC Superintendent David Smith has worked in a variety of positions in the district. …

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