Ms. Susan K. Vaughan, PhD

Piano, Flute Teacher, Parent, Administrator

Susan Vaughan

SAA Member


514 N Washington Ave Apt F
Madison SD 57042

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The Denton Suzuki Academy closed in August, 2017, in Denton, Texas, when Susan moved to Madison, South Dakota to live near her son, a Dakota State University librarian and webmaster.  Dr. Vaughan is accepting beginning and intermediate students. In addition to Suzuki studies and participation in both the North Texas Suzuki Association and the Plano Music Teachers Association (PMTA), Susan’s students performed in the Plano Music Teachers Association festivals and regular studio recital events including parent and student group classes.

Susan’s primary music instrument is piano, but she also teaches flute.  Her piano studies began with Katherine Johnson and composer/teacher/husband, Merritt Johnson, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota.  Recently, she worked with UNT in Denton, Texas, as well as NSU in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to catalog all of Johnson’s music making it available free of charge, on-line, via worldwide through UNT in Denton, Texas, and NSU in Aberdeen, South Dakota, library websites. Each composition is available in digital print and/or auditory format. Vaughan considers this to be her most significant academic achievement:

Piano Background
Susan completed graduate piano study with Dr. Wilgus Eberly, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas; Mr. Terrence Rust, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Minnesota; Vladimir Levitski, Principal Pianist of the Minnesota Orchestra, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Evelyn Chen, Columbia University Teacher’s College faculty, Houston, Texas; and Gustavo Romero, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

Susan as a Piano Teacher
Previously, Dr. Vaughan taught Suzuki and traditional piano at the Galveston Island Arts Academy, Galveston, Texas, which she founded and served as executive director and manager of an annual concert series, an eleven-year collaborative project with the Mary Moody Northen Endowment.  This concert series continues today through the efforts of the Mary Moody Northen Endowment, Dr. Ulli Budelmann, and Trond Saeverud.

Susan provides high quality piano instruction utilizing Dr. Suzuki’s teaching approaches. She mixes traditional teaching rigor with diverse piano technical studies of Terrence Rust. Lessons are individualized to meet the needs of every student-challenging and stimulating. Susan has interest in, commitment to, and experience with students in the autism spectrum.  She spoke to this topic at the 2016 International Suzuki Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Susan’s Education
Susan received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and holds current certifications in music, art, and superintendent of schools in Texas. She earned her MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson Executive Management program in marketing and quality assurance. Additionally, she earned M.A. degrees from Texas Woman’s University with majors in piano performance and music education and from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in art education.

Teaching Career of Susan Vaughan
Susan’s teaching career began in Minnesota, where she taught music and art for nine years at Hibbing Community College and Century Community College. She exhibited art, performed piano concerts (often with collaborating pianists) and conducted musicals, including “Fiddler on the Roof” and the first amateur production of “Man of La Mancha.” Susan also directed the college chamber band and served as music manager for Minnesota’s state fine arts festivals. Dr. Vaughan’s chamber band performed at the Anglo-International Music Festival in Guildford, England, winning a Merit rating, as well as music festivals in Luxembourg and Paris.

Susan began Suzuki instruction in New Mexico prior to her move to Galveston, Texas, and later Denton, Texas. While in Texas, she taught elementary and secondary choral and classroom music in Houston and Galveston. Her last public teaching position was at the Harvard IB Elementary Magnet School, where she founded and managed a districtwide, audition-based elementary honor choir, which continues annually in Houston ISD.

For sixteen years, Susan served as the Minnesota state fine arts specialist designing state music and art tests and music and art curricula for 435 school districts. Susan designed and implemented statewide art and music curricula for students with special needs and served on the MENC professional development task force sponsored by the Yamaha International Corporation. Dr. Vaughan also served on the MENC Journal editorial review board.

In her last employment position in Houston ISD, Dr. Vaughan served as the Houston district level Secondary Fine Arts Manager, responsible for creating district arts curricula while providing leadership to Houston’s secondary school music, art, dance, and theatre programs. While in HISD, Susan successfully secured a $250,000 US Department of Education arts grant. Susan was a member of the North Texas Suzuki Association and served annually as a member judge. 

Susan recently served as President of the North Texas Area P.E.O. Council (12 city chapters) and served as DAR Vice Regent for the Denton DAR Chapter.  Susan was a member of the Ariel Music Club and served as secretary for the Denton Woman’s Club.Dr. She is actively engaged in the Madison community and serves as secretary of the Madison Area Arts Council.