Susan Rose Stengel was born on Aug. 10, 1947, in Chicago, IL, the oldest child of Barbara Marie Nent Stengel and John Stengel. She attended public schools in Chicago, graduating 5th in her high school class of 400. She got a BA in psychology in 1969 from the University of Chicago. She spent a year in San Francisco teaching at an experimental school, then enrolled in grad school. Her education at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) was interrupted by marriage to James Theroux in January, 1971. Susan resumed graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and completed her Ed.D. in 1978. Her daughter, Erica, was born just as Susan was finishing her degree. She took a faculty position at the State University of New York (Fredonia). Because she wanted direct contact with the children who were the focus of her academic preparation and her passion, she left Fredonia and moved with Erica to Denver in 1981. She taught K – 3rd grade at Colorado Academy for five years. Her parents had moved to Boulder several years earlier, so that the family had many opportunities to be together. Susan also pursued further education, obtaining certifications to be a school administrator. In 1986, she and Erica made a big move to Zambia, where she became principal of the International School of Lusaka. Her next adventure took her to Copenhagen, where she was principal and chief executive officer of the Copenhagen International Junior School. After five years, she moved again, from Copenhagen to Jakarta, Indonesia, where she was principal of the Jakarta International School. In the course of these adventures, Susan grew fluent in Danish and Indonesian. During her time in Jakarta, she also started the Foundation for Excellence in Education whose target was to introduce new teaching methodologies to teachers in Indonesian schools. This foundation was instrumental in producing new children’s textbooks as recently as 2018. She finished her professional career in the US, serving as the first principal of a charter school in Brooklyn, and moving, two years later, to Philadelphia, where she was principal and executive director of the Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School. She retired in 2013, after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She moved to Bridgeport, CT, shortly thereafter to be close to Erica and her family. She married Frank Dudás in 2018.
Susan was a member of the Bahá’í Faith, which she accepted in 1969. Her passion was service to humanity, and particularly to our children. It was in part service to the Bahá’í community that motivated her career overseas. She was active in Bahá’í communities wherever she lived. In western Connecticut, she served as the area coordinator of the Bahá’í Faith’s Ruhi Institute, whose target is community development through emphasis on spiritual education.
When not involved in teaching and child development activities, Susan could be found on a tennis or a pickleball court, or doing something with her grandchildren, Danny and Alexa Sawers, who were the center of her life in retirement. She was a lifelong cello player, playing most recently with the Danbury orchestra. Susan is survived by her daughter, Erica, her husband, Mark, and their children, Danny and Alexa; by her husband, Frank; and by her sister-in-law Susan Stengel.
A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 11:00 AM in Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, CT. The service can be streamed via zoom.
Meeting ID: 823 5224 2899