Sue Iverson, student council adviser at Wayzata High School (WHS) has been named the 2019 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year. The award was presented to Mrs. Iverson during the 2019 National Student Council Conference that was held in McDonald, PA, in late June 2019. The annual award is named for Warren E. Shull, the founder of National Student Council and recognizes high school student council advisers of exemplary character, leadership and commitment to young people and who foster their development as student leaders.
Iverson is the gifted and talented program and AP coordinator at WHS and has served as student council adviser at WHS for 21 years. She identifies as one of the most fulfilling aspects of being an adviser is “watching students grow into amazing young leaders”. In that time, she was shaped by a theme of doing what is right and gratitude. Mrs. Iverson regularly asks her student leaders to consider, “Who are you when no one is looking?” and “What do we stand for?” as they define their goals. When issues arise, Mrs. Iverson challenges her council leaders do more and find solutions rather than avoided them.
Under her tutelage, the student council members have learned and practiced servant leadership in the school and community. The council supports their own students in need through their popular Survivor Week, a spinoff of the reality show that raises $3,000–5,000 each year. To help eighth graders transition to the high school, the council created the PEACE (Preparing, Educating and Advising Current Eighth-Graders) program that pairs the younger students with WHS students for a morning of classroom shadowing and school tours.
Iverson’s efforts to give council members opportunities to lead and serve beyond the school are evidenced in her and their participation in state-level student council. During her tenure, the WHS council has hosted the Minnesota Association of Student Councils state conference twice and most recently a spring division conference. She regularly shares her expertise with fellow advisers, presenting workshops at state conferences. In addition to their state engagement and accolades, Iverson is also engaged at the national level. She and her students are regular attendees at LEAD Conferences and the National Student Council Conference, where they also present workshops. In 2018, they were the host school for the national conference.
Doug Erikson, coordinator of student activities at MASSP writes, “Sue treats students and adults with respect and kindness. She allows students to take responsibility while she guides quietly in the background. When things go awry, she fixes, not blames.”
Of Iverson, WHS Principal Scott Gengler says, “Sue is a person who thinks well on her feet and works through complex problems thoroughly. This is a necessary attribute as she balances her day-to-day workload and over 160 student council representatives. Sue takes great pride as an adviser in developing the foundational leadership skills and positive character traits our students need to be successful, not just while they are here at WHS, but long after they graduate.”
Ruchika Kamojjala, the 2018–2019 student body president at WHS, reflects, “Mrs. Sue Iverson not only embodies all of the characteristics of an incredible adviser, but also goes out of her way to be the biggest supporter and advocate for her students. She has established student council as an influential and essential part of our high school. In a school with 3,400 students, she has given students a voice and has provided us the opportunity to develop a good relationship with school administration. This level of trust has been critical as [student] council puts on over 80 percent of student programming. If I had to pick one teacher who has shaped me into the individual I am today, it would, without a doubt, be Mrs. Iverson. She has demonstrated the importance of being a good leader and the impact it can make on a school community.”
For inspiring students to serve their school and community and empowering them to stand and find solutions, the National Student Council proudly recognizes Sue Iverson as the 2019 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year.