Sue Johnston chats with History/Political Science major Kyle Leineweber in her office.
Sue Johnston moved up from switchboard operator to Student Services office manager on Monday, Jan. 30, and she couldn’t be more thrilled. However, the progression is only natural. Dubbed the Student Services “mom” since she began at Brenau more than two years ago, Johnston guides and organizes the student workers who come through the office. From day one, Johnston has shown her nurturing and caring spirit to every student she meets.
“The first day I was here was also the first day of fall semester, 2014,” she said. “We had a new student who was very, very sad. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, ‘everything.’ So we learned together how to get her situated, and not only did she end up staying, but she is going to be graduating with honors after only three years.”
She grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, where at Roosevelt High School she met a guy named David, who has now been her husband for 42 years. They also attended Iowa State University together. Sue studied journalism and mass communications. She subsequently transferred to Reinhardt University, where she graduated with a degree in communications. She went on to work as district training manager for Waldenbooks and Borders, and when she wanted to dedicate more time to caring for her family, she came to Brenau part-time to help Valerie Simmons-Walston while Jessica Bowling was on maternity leave.
“I was just going to help out for a few hours a week. I came to work here two and a half years ago, and I was full-time permanent by the end of the first day,” Johnston said.
Johnston has lived in Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, Georgia and even England from 1999 to 2001 when her husband’s job took the family there. She is a self-proclaimed Anglophile, her favorite book being 84, Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff’s tale about a bookstore in London. Despite having lived there for two years, she didn’t get to see everything Great Britain has to offer. “There’s something new going on every day there. It’s such a fabulous place.”
When Johnston first came to work at Brenau, she already had vast experience in that titled role of Brenau student mom: Her daughter, Annie, is a Brenau graduate and now works as an admissions specialist. Sue also has two other children, Brian and Hope, and four grandsons: Christopher, Matthew, Tyler and Flynn. She also adores her cat, Evie, adopted on New Year’s Eve.
Sue is not only unlimitedly talented in getting students the information they need, but she is also an incredible source of positivity and energy. With that energy, she is able to take a cloudy day and brighten it up. For that, I’m always thankful for Sue.
— Kyle Leineweber,
History/Political Science major
She is happy her new position will allow her to stay at the front, work with students every day and not squirrel her away into an office.
“I told [Amanda Lammers] when she offered me the job, I’ll do whatever you want, as long as I get to stay out there with the students,” she said. “I love my job so much.”