Susan Almeida left her Chicago home in 1969 to study elementary education at Illinois State as an undergraduate. She didn’t leave the University until decades later, when she retired from the College of Education in 2011.

“I thought I would go back to Chicago, but I stayed forever,” chuckled Almeida ’73, M.S. ’78. “Once I decided to be a teacher, I knew there was no other place to study but ISU.” With jobs limited, she opted to complete a graduate degree and chose to focus on reading. That decision prepared her to join the faculty in DeGarmo Hall.

Almeida taught undergraduate education majors the art of teaching reading and in 1990, was chosen to serve as director of ISU’s Reading Recovery program. She trained at the University of Illinois for a year to master the intervention that originated in New Zealand and targets children in first grade.

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“We helped little school districts across Illinois. I was traveling all the time and trained hundreds of teachers,” said Almeida, who continued her own professional development to remain a Reading Recovery instructor.

“What kept me going was seeing the children learn to read. The child changes from feeling frustrated and like a failure to finding success,” Almeida said. “That kind of experience is unbelievable.”

She also enjoyed training the teachers but after 20 years on the job, was ready to retire. That created the opportunity to volunteer as a hostess at Ewing Manor, which she did for nine years and until the pandemic restricted visitors to the property in Bloomington.

Almeida also retired from working at WJBC, a Central Illinois radio station that aired her call-in program called The Broad View on Saturday mornings for five years. She and her husband, Jerry Meiss ’71, M.S. ’77, now fill their schedule with family visits. There are three adult children and five grandchildren the couple adores. Their house in Normal is a favorite place for the grandchildren to gather and keeps Almeida close to the campus that she also considers home.

Almeida can be reached at