WATCH: Athletic Director 'Blessed' with Career in District 228
Oak Forest High School Athletic Director Sue Bonner will retire at the end of the 2011–12 school year. Patch sat down with Bonner to share career highlights, memories of her time at Oak Forest and what she has in store for her future.
For the past 26 years, a familiar face has roamed the halls and athletic fields at Oak Forest High School. When school lets out for summer, that will change—former coach and current athletic director Sue Bonner will retire after 26 years at Oak Forest and 33 cumulative in District 228.
Since her freshman year at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, she wanted to pursue a career in education. With her mind made up and her skills on the basketball court, Bonner went on to become the captain of the women's basketball team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Following her college career, Bonner attained a master's degree in administration from Governor's State University and her type 75, before attaining her certification in advanced studies at Lewis University.
Bonner began her teaching career at Hillcrest High School, where she taught and coached three sports (basketball, volleyball, track and cross country) for seven years before coming to OFHS. It was former OFHS principal Ed Roberts who brought her to the Bengals to coach basketball and teach physical education.
Bonner also credited her mentor, former Hillcrest Athletic Director Sharron Johnson, for her rise to her current role at Oak Forest.
“She was a PE teacher and assistant AD at Hillcrest when I got hired,” Bonner said. “I saw that ... I really liked what she does and thought, 'Maybe I'd want to do that someday.' So, athletic administration became a goal of mine when I started my career.”
During her time as a coach Bonner said her career highlights included winning two conference championships at Hillcrest and making it to the Sweet 16 in the IHSA girls basketball tournament with the Bengals As an athletic director, she said that the Bengals cheerleading team's strong finishes always made her proud, along with the baseball team's second place finish in state last year and in 2009 the girls softball team taking state, all ranked highly amongst her career highlights.
With her retirement date set, Bonner said she expects to take at least a year away from all things education to enjoy her free time, friends and family. She added, though, that just because she's stepping away now, doesn't mean she'll never come back.
“I'm not ever discounting the fact that I might come back in a capacity, working in some capacity at the high school level or even the lower level,” Bonner said. “I'd love to get back into coaching at some point, but I'm just going to wait and see where it takes me.”