Familiar face fulfilling new role: an interview with Superintendent Dr. Guseman

Conor Sukel, staff writer

The district’s new superintendent, Dr. Guseman is no stranger to our district as she enters her 21st year working for Joliet Township. Although she has personally been involved in Joliet’s school system for 21 years, she initially wanted to study Biology. It wasn’t until after she received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago that she decided to pursue a career in education. Recalling her decision to switch majors, Dr. Guseman said, “I worked in a greenhouse while at University of Illinois at Chicago and it was a little isolated. I talked to my friend who liked working with kids and I realized I wanted to be around people and help kids.”

From there Dr. Guseman went to University of St. Francis to get her Master’s Degree in Education. Continuing her education, Dr. Guseman went on to earn a Master’s Degree from Governors State and a Doctorate Degree from Northern Illinois University in Education. With a passion for Biology and teaching, Dr. Guseman started teaching Biology courses at Joliet Central and did so for 6 years before moving to Curriculum Director for Science and Applied Life. Moving up in the education system she stepped into the position of Assistant Superintendent before becoming the Superintendent for the district this past February. 

Just one month into her new position as Superintendent a global pandemic hit and changed her job drastically. While discussing the differences between being the assistant Superintendent to Superintendent she cites the pandemic as the biggest change, “The biggest difference is students and teachers are not meeting in person so I had to work with the staff from both schools to create an effective teaching and learning structure. Excitement and joy exploded in Dr. Guseman’s voice as she talked about her main goal as Superintendent, “I want to decrease the education gap between students by working with teachers to get every student to realize their full potential and provide the proper resources so they reach their full potential.” Throughout her life she was around the Joliet education system because she went to school in the Joliet area and her grandparents held jobs with Joliet Township in the education system.  From teaching students to being a Superintendent for the district, Dr. Guseman believes in the education that Joliet Central and Joliet West can provide as she has one son that graduated from Central, another that is currently in his senior year at West, and a daughter that will start at West next year. 

Dr. Guseman believes being a teacher in the district will continue to help her in her job as Superintendent, “Being a teacher is essential to my role as Superintendent. I never want to forget being a teacher because it is a difficult job, but it is so rewarding helping. I believe teaching is the most noble profession.” As an administrator for high school students she obviously wants to see students succeed and go to college and advises them to use all the tools they can to research colleges. Giving further advice to students looking at colleges she advises, “Students always need to think about what they enjoy doing and that will help with choosing a major and a career that they can be passionate and excited about each day.” Dr. Guseman trusts the education that Joliet Central and West can provide and will only improve it through an understanding of what both the teachers and students are going through on a day-to-day basis.