Susan Obenauf Hess of Palatine, Illinois, received a doctorate in education in teaching and learning from Illinois State University. She is the daughter of  Mary Lou and William Obenauf of Ingleside, Illinois, and the wife of Mark Hess of Palatine. Hess is currently an English teacher and department chair of James B. Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Hess received a master’s degree in reading and instruction from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and physical education from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota.