Lakeshore Middle School Principal Susan Toothman is a living example of author Tom Peter’s quote, “True leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” Since the very beginning — first as a teacher, then as a Director of Curriculum and a State/Federal Program Specialist, and now as a principal, Susan has been able to take individuals and grow them professionally and personally. Her innate ability to develop teams that share a common goal or purpose are legendary in the Lakeshore Public School system. As the first ever female principal in the history of the Lakeshore Public School District, she is actually a product of the system. She graduated from Lakeshore, went on to Western Michigan University, and eventually returned to lead the very school she once attended as a student. A former multiple winner of Athlete of the Year honors and a member of the Lakeshore Athletic Hall of Fame, her nominator calls Susan “the epitome of what school districts hope their students will achieve. She has impacted thousands of lives.” Read more on Susan Toothman, a Bold Woman of Business for the Class of 2022.
Where do you live?
Company or Organization
Lakeshore Public Schools
What is your job or role there?
Lakeshore Middle School Principal
How do you think that Bold Women of Business demonstrate being bold?
I think the Bold Women of Business demonstrate being bold by creating their own opportunities and pathways. The Bold Women of Business do not wait for opportunity to knock at the door- they open the door and invite opportunity in.
Bold women are often defined by a number of descriptors. Please choose from the following descriptors to produce the top three that you would say most exemplify your personality?
Please provide an example of when you feel you were at your very best in taking action on the job or in your role.
I feel I am at my best when I am collaborating with our stakeholders (teachers, students, and parents) to develop and then implement action plans centered on student success.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened on your road to success?
Any person who has experienced success has also experienced failure. Being able to laugh- and learn quickly- from mistakes and viewing set-backs as learning opportunities is key.
Who most inspires your personal drive for success every day?
My family inspires my personal drive for success every day.
What is your best advice to women in Southwest Michigan looking to succeed, as you have, in business?
The best advice I have for women in Southwest Michigan looking to succeed is to know who you are as a person- your core values and beliefs- and stay true to those in every decision you make. Invest in the people around you; build relationships and encourage others’ growth.
What does your selection to the ranks of the Bold Women of Business from Moody on the Market mean to you?
It is an honor to be selected to the ranks of the Bold Women of Business from Moody on the Market. The women have tremendous stories of growth, impact, and change for their communities and I am humbled to be considered amongst them.