ECE Naming Ceremony Dedication 2

Donor Bio

Susanne Wightman-Rochester

I was raised by a progressive activist in Columbus Ohio.  After the death of my father, my mother led by example.  She started me on the teaching track in 1964, when I met a teacher of young children in center city Columbus. Mrs. Whitmer recommended I pursue Head Start status which I did. I’ve never looked back and my love of teaching grew.


1948 – Born, Columbus Ohio

1966 – Bishop Ready HS graduation/Head Start

1969 – Married Robert Douglas Wightman.

1972 – B.S. Elementary Education from Ohio Dominican College, Columbus, Ohio

Teaching, Columbus Public Schools, 32 years

1975 – Founding ‘mother’ of Douglas Alternative School Progressive education in an open-spaced school designed to have multi-age groups as well as children who had differing abilities/opportunities

1989 – M.A. Early Childhood, The Ohio State University

Opened Early Childhood School in Monterray, Mexico with R. Williams, Ph.D. and graduate student teachers

2003 – Ph.D. Early Childhood, The Ohio State University

2004 – Husband deceased

2005 – 2012 – Master Gardener OSU extension Teaching, The Ohio State University

Lecturer and Program Manager, College of Education School of Teaching and Learning Aligned Study

  • Professional Development School
  • Literacy Collaborative
  • Reggio Emilia Study Groups
  • Child Advocacy Issues
  • Classroom as community

2008 – Mpeasem Village Ghana, West Africa

2012 – Retired from OSU. 40 years teaching, total

2013 – Married Ronald Eugene Rochester, Moved to Avon Ohio (close to Lake Erie)

6 children, 9 grandchildren

Present – Enjoying family, gardening, hiking, traveling, reading, staying in touch with friends & colleagues


Keeping Mpeasem children in my heart!

By giving the gift of an education, you not only inspire children in Ghana with your generosity, you create opportunities for their life chances.


Make a Donation Today!