Teacher pursues passions beyond the ER


Dr. Susan Wheeler

Dr. Susan Wheeler, who teaches math in the Upper School, rides a horse and greets others, including a baby goat, on her family farm near College Station.

Jordan Roberts and Caroline Nelson

Upper School mathematics teacher, Dr. Susan Wheeler, in a previous life, pursued her first childhood dreams by moving to Texas from her home in Long Island to go to medical school.

For several years, Dr. Wheeler practiced as a cardiologist; however, her love for both math and science ultimately led her to find a job at Kinkaid as a teacher.

The medical field was always in Dr. Wheeler’s mind.

Her interest was in biology, more specifically the cardiovascular system. The mechanics, the flows and the ways the systems worked together made so much sense to her and ignited a passion. With interests in both math and science, she felt as if cardiology was the best fit for her.

“I always loved biology and especially loved the cardiac system, so I thought if I were to go into medicine, it would be in cardiology,” Dr. Wheeler said.

Dr. Wheeler’s other dream was to become a cowgirl. Originally from Long Island, New York, she easily made a decision to move to the only place in the world where one can take flight as a heart doctor and a cowgirl: Texas.

“As a child, I always wanted to be a cowgirl and also wanted to go to medical school. So, it was decided I would move to Houston, where I could learn to become both a cardiologist and a cowgirl,” Dr. Wheeler said.

To this day, she still continues her passions as a cowgirl. She raises cattle and horses with her husband and three sons on a farm in Grimes County, located outside College Station. She and her family work there almost every weekend for family time away from the hectic city life.

Dr. Wheeler attended Baylor Medical School and later was on the medical faculty. She loved the benefits and improvements that cardiology could provide to people with cardiovascular diseases. Her primary interests were in a more specific subspecialty of cardiology: electrophysiology, a branch of medicine that studies the electrical properties of cells and tissues and is focused on rhythm disturbances of the heart.

“The positive impact you could make as a cardiologist is really dramatic,” Dr. Wheeler said. “Cardiology is one of those fields that is always rapidly changing, and you really could do so many things to improve people’s lives.”

While practicing cardiology, she started her family, and she noticed how much time she was spending at the hospital away from her three children.

“I went for days, sometimes weeks, without seeing my sons,” she said.

Dr. Wheeler evaluated her priorities and decided to take a leave of absence. During her leave, she became aware of a project in the mathematics department at the University of Houston that was partnering with Baylor College of Medicine Cardiology.

Soon after, she received her master’s degree in mathematics and started to substitute teach and tutor in the subject. Her son’s former Spanish teacher mentioned to Wheeler that Upper School chemistry teacher, Dr. Shannon Hardie, needed coverage for maternity leave for a day in September.

Dr. Wheeler’s college degree from Cornell University was in chemistry, so she was planning to substitute teach at Kinkaid for what she thought would be one day. As she was leaving on her first day, science department chair, Dr. Sonia Clayton stopped to talk with her and asked her to stay until Thanksgiving.

As one can assume, the rest is history.

Dr. Wheeler has been a beloved math teacher with a unique background, inspiring and instilling passions within her students.

“She is a very nice human being, and I truly enjoy having conversations with her, whether it’s about math, or any other life subject, but I especially have a soft spot for her horses,” said senior Camille Solé.