Who was Suzanne M. Henseler, and why is our school named after her?
A teacher, state legislator , town council member , school committee member and mother of three who lived down the road from Quidnessett for over thirty years, Suzanne M. Henseler was a model of public service who constantly strove to improve her community. Sue devoted her life primarily to three things: raising her family, educating her students and working to protect the interests of the people of North Kingstown.
Sue served on the North Kingstown School Committee from 1978 through 1982, and in 1982 became a state representative for much of North Kingstown. In 1992 she was named the first woman Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, the third highest position in the General Assembly and at the time the highest-ranking position a woman had ever held. While working at the state house through 2002, Sue sponsored bills that focused on, among other things, education, the environment and women's health issues. She helped pass many laws that have had a positive impact on the people of North Kingstown and citizens of Rhode Island.
At the same time she was serving as a state representative, Sue also worked as a history teacher at St. Rocco School in Johnston. In 2004, Sue was elected to serve on the North Kingstown Town Council.
Sue's three sons all attended Quidnessett Elementary School.
In September 2006, Sue died after a courageous battle with breast cancer. As a way to recognize the many years of service Sue had provided the town, in 2008 the North Kingstown Town Council unanimously voted to rename Quidnessett Elementary School in her honor.