MUSE News

How Suzanne McClure Revolutionized Leadership at MUSE

Suzanne McClure

We’re a thriving community of creative, bold thinkers and committed educators at MUSE Virtual. Our student-centered school culture is handcrafted by passionate teachers and administrators who are dedicated to the growth and success of your children–a mission our team goes above and beyond to achieve each and every day.

Recently, we had the remarkable opportunity to sit down with Suzanne McClure, the Director of MUSE Virtual, Director of Middle and High School, and a Process Communication Model (PCM) trainer for the MUSE community. In this insightful interview, Suzanne discussed her passion for the performing arts and for education, her thoughts on being an administrator at MUSE, and her words of advice to parents considering a virtual learning program for their children.

What were you doing professionally before MUSE?

Before coming to MUSE, I was a professional dancer on Broadway for ten years while also teaching and sharing my passion for the arts and education. I continued to follow my passion for the arts and education, and I started my own performing and visual arts school from 2003-2012. Then, I returned back to Los Angeles with my family before finding my next love, MUSE School.

That’s a major 180! Has your background in the performing arts influenced your work as an educator?

YES! My performing arts career has gifted me with a treasure of memories and experiences that I’ll cherish forever. My ability to connect with people, tell a story, express my creativity and passions, and embrace my work means that I’ll never work a day in my life! At MUSE, our ever-evolving founding principle is the very definition of my life as a performer…new characters, new shows, new stories, and new audiences to keep it fresh–eight shows a week! I’ve developed the ability to shift and pivot in ever changing world. We embrace this at MUSE, no matter what the world brings us to.

How would you describe your educational philosophy? How has it guided your experience working in education?

My educational philosophy has always been that of a non-traditional educator. I have embraced the idea that the arts are an integral part of the human experience. They can free the spirit and the heart. Schools across the globe have been cutting funding and arts opportunities for decades, and students have been forced to experience “school”, skills and concepts of core academics with right and wrong and high test scores as the priority. I have always known that all of the arts can easily be connected to traditional academics like math and science. I began my own school with that in mind: [children] never have to choose between academics and their passions. After my first visit to MUSE, I knew that I was exactly where I was meant to be!

So tell us about your day-to-day. What are the roles and responsibilities as the Director of MUSE Virtual?

As the Director of MUSE Virtual, I’m overseeing the creation of our LMS (learning management system) powered by Canvas, course creation across all grades K-12 and all specialist courses, ensuring that the mission, vision and programming of MUSE remain pure and consistent. I’ll be overseeing all of the above responsibilities and shifting for a unique “MUSEY” virtual experience for all teachers, staff, students and parents.

What do you enjoy most about being an administrator at MUSE?

I love facilitating and supporting students’ dreams and co-creating experiences with both teachers and students. I love to say that I make dreams come true. There’s rarely a time a student or teacher asks me for something that I say no. If they can dream, I love to make it possible!

What makes the MUSE educational model unique?

At MUSE, we live and breathe a student-centered, whole child approach to education. We put our students’ needs, voices, passions and interests FIRST. We co-create, we break rules, we research, [and we] invite and embrace new ways of learning by carefully observing and listening to our students everyday! We never lose sight of the mission, vision, founding principles and Five Pillars.

How would you describe the students and faculty at MUSE?

The community of MUSE students and teachers embrace and live the four founding principles every day! We’re an eclectic, diverse group of learners, creatives, and future global change makers from all over the world with varied backgrounds, beliefs and experiences. We embrace and share our experiences with open hearts and minds, supporting and inspired by each other’s passions in an ever-changing world.

How has the culture and learning environment of MUSE changed or adapted during the time you’ve been a part of the team?

I’ve been at MUSE for seven years now during its fifteen year history. We say that MUSE is now a teenager! With each passing year, MUSE has grown more and more comfortable in its own skin! MUSE embraces an ever-evolving philosophy, unlike many educational institutions that find “their” way and rarely deviate. At MUSE, we embrace the change, and we welcome new thoughts, new ideas, new passions, and new ways of reaching and creating with our students every single day. Because of the commitment of many dedicated teachers and staff under the guidance of our founders, Suzy Amis Cameron and Rebecca Amis, MUSE has grown from eleven students to two hundred in Calabasas, California, now reaching all around the world with MUSE Global and MUSE Virtual.

What does “virtual school” mean to you?

It’s a shift from the traditional in-person classroom setting by creating an engaging, digital platform that keeps learning alive and connections between students and teachers integral–a comprehensive way for students to develop both academically and socially.

What about your team? How have they responded to the transition to online learning?

Our MUSE teaching team embraced the shift, pushed through the challenges and supported each other and our students in the most impressive way. I’m beyond proud!

What’s a memorable student anecdote you’ve heard about MUSE’s online transition thus far?

Students have shared that they’re grateful that every teacher made themselves available, that learning continued, and that they could see their friends everyday, even when the world became an uncertain place. Our students felt accomplished that they not only finished their year, but they didn’t miss a beat. Our hybrid graduations for eighth and twelfth grade celebrated our students in the most creative way with special guest speakers and enabled family members from around the world to attend and honor our graduates.

What advice would you offer parents who are considering transitioning their child to a virtual learning program?

As we navigate the unknowns of COVID-19, we’re all making adjustments to living that we never dreamed of. The transition to virtual learning has a negative reputation. Many of the larger school districts in the United States failed and gave up before the year was even done. At MUSE, we were ready! We have embraced and created long distance learning plans for our traveling families for over ten years. Since March of 2020, we began the creative process of forming our learning management system, MyMUSE, which will offer everything that a MUSE education has to offer. Parents won’t be disappointed, and students will not lose any of their momentum as they move on to the next grade.

Specifically, what advice would you offer parents who are interested in enrolling their children at MUSE Virtual School? What’s one thing you want parents considering MUSE to know?

There’s a wonderful student-centered, progressive and innovative virtual education available. It’s here. It’s MUSE! Open your minds to an innovative and progressive approach to learning. When the little voice in your head has questioned traditional educational practices or saw that it hasn’t worked for your child, take some time to consider MUSE Virtual!

One for the road: tell us about your typical video conference background.

On Zoom, I’m in my home office. The room has my desk and our piano. It’s my own little oasis at home where I can work, create, read, meditate and connect.

If you want to learn more about the leadership team at MUSE Virtual, please visit our website at musevirtualschool.com/leadership.

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