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Your Neighbor: Meet Susan Preston

By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier

Susan Preston spent most of her childhood growing up in western New York right outside of Buffalo. “We were a very active family that liked to spend our time outdoors,” says the middle child of three children  “We spent a great amount of time skiing in the winter and water skiing in the summer. We had a cottage on Lake Ontario which gave us a good reason to do so.”

The active youth didn’t want to go too far from home when it was time to select a college. “I went to Colgate University to study special education which is ironic because it wasn’t until I got there that I realized they didn’t have that as an option. I selected English as my major with the intention of still teaching,” explains Preston. “I loved my time at Colgate. I cherish many of the friendships that I made there. We even recently got together to celebrate our 40-year reunion.”

Upon graduation, Preston continued on the path she had started, to teach students. “I taught in the same room for 33 years,” notes Preston. “I taught high school English both AP and literacy. I absolutely loved teaching and the kids.”

Preston’s focus on her career allowed her to fully immerse herself in her passion of teaching children. When not expecting a major life change, Preston unexpectedly met her future husband, Kevin, on a trip to Florida. The two were married in 1981. Preston’s husband had a son from a previous marriage, and she was thrilled to have a new family to share her life with. They added another son to their family not too long after being married.

Preston’s respect and appreciation for family has always been paramount. When her brother passed away in 1991 while training in the United States Air Force, it was a shock and devastating. “My siblings and I were very close growing up. It was a hard loss,” reflects Preston.

Preston remained steadfast in raising her children and teaching after the loss of her brother. And once her children were old enough for college time, both Susan and her husband were pondering where they would live as well. “We had property down in Pinehurst about nine years before we retired. My husband always said North Carolina was as far south as he wanted to go. Our youngest was looking at UNC, Duke, and Wake Forest. When he got into Wake Forest, we all fell in love with Winston-Salem,” says Preston.

“When we moved to Clemmons, I swore I would never substitute teach because of the horror stories I hear about subbing. I was asked to teach at West Forsyth and luckily none of those stories rang true there. I absolutely loved it. The kids were great, the staff, all of it. Prior to COVID-19, I was still subbing out there,” notes Preston.

When not substitute teaching at West Forsyth, Preston can be found volunteering. She’s a very active member at Clemmons Presbyterian Church. Preston also is a chair member of the Salem Glen Community Program. As a member of Salem Glen, Preston proudly serves on a group that provides scholarships for the kids (or adults) going to two-year colleges. “We began the program last fall and immediately started fundraising within our community. It’s an opportunity to give someone the financial means to better their lives through education,” explains Preston. “This scholarship opportunity is available for any person in Forsyth or Davidson County wanting to attend Forsyth Tech or Davidson Community College,” says Preston. The Salem Glen community awarded their first academic scholarship this year and plans to continue with the help of Preston’s leadership.

Preston and her husband have enjoyed that the community they have joined has such a philanthropic spirit. “When we’re not volunteering, we do like to travel a lot,” explains Preston. “Prior to COVID-19 we did a lot of river cruises in Europe. We also enjoy going out West. Right now, we aren’t traveling like we did before, but we are mountain biking and golfing here in Salem Glen. It’s very relaxing for us.”

Our neighbor reminds us with her zest for life, that it’s not about the destination, but the journey.