Confusion swarmed her as she battled with the idea that maybe she needs a change. After working in law for so long starting a new career would be like starting a new life.
“Could I do it?” she wondered. “Would I even be good at it?”
After a lot of thought and prayer, she had made up her mind and was determined to succeed.
Two years ago, Suellen Perry, a big-time lawyer from New York moved to Henderson, Texas to teach English. In those last two years, she’s made her mark on HHS through creating and leading a law CTE path, taking on the English Department Chair, making life long impacts her students will remember forever and so much more.
“I’ve always viewed teaching as a noble profession of public service, but I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy teaching or whether I would be a good teacher,” Perry said. “I followed my heart and gave it a try at the start of the 2016-17 school year [ and] I have not looked back. I love teaching, largely because of the students I have had the privilege of teaching these past four years.”
Perry received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oregon in 1993, she then went on to receive her Juris Doctor law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She worked for U.S. District Judge John Hannah, Jr. in Tyler, then moved to New York City to work as a litigator for an international law firm. Perry then returned to Texas and practiced law at a large national law firm and also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas for several years.
“After practicing as a corporate trial lawyer for almost 20 years, I felt called by the Lord to step out in faith into a new career that would better serve God’s purpose for my life,” Perry said. “While I thoroughly enjoyed many aspects of my legal career, I reached a place where I realized that my career and my life revolved too much around the love of money and what it could buy. After several years of deep searching and prayer, I came to understand that I needed a significant career change.”
Growing up and even into her adult years, Perry had many phenomenal teachers that impacted her life. It’s because of them and the relationship they created, that made Perry want to teach, she wanted to build that same relationship with students.
“My all-time favorite teacher was Mrs. Trudie Hoefer, my 4th and 5th grade GT teacher,” Perry said. “Mrs. Hoefer instilled in me a belief in myself and my abilities, but more importantly, she maintained high expectations of me that trained me to always strive for excellence in any undertaking.”
Mrs. Hoefer was not the only teacher to have an impact on Perry’s life. Mrs. Huff, her high school journalism teacher, and Professor Caron, a chairman of the International Law department at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. They helped her form her teaching style and develop her goals now as a teacher.
“My goal for this school year, and for every school year, is to make meaningful connections with my students as I share my love for our language and literature,” Perry said. “And maybe, hopefully, to instill in at least one other person that same belief in self and expectation of excellence that Mrs. Hoefer gifted to me all those years ago.”