Who is Sue Nelle?

Dr. Sue Nelle DeHart of Decatur, Texas, has been a professional educator since 1964, working with students from 18 months old to graduate students. She has served as a classroom teacher in K–12, a teacher of the deaf, a special education teacher, an elementary principal, and a central office administrator. Before becoming an elementary principal in Hurst, Texas, Dr. DeHart served as the gifted and talented coordinator for the Denton Independent School District, developing the program, training teachers, and writing curricula. She trained and worked with more than 200 K–12 MIZAR (G/T) teachers within the district on how to differentiate curricula for gifted students within the regular classroom.

Dr. DeHart taught graduate courses in the areas of gifted education and special education administration as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University. Sue Nelle has published several articles on working with gifted students within the general education classroom. She is an international presenter who has given hundreds of workshops on gifted education, working with exceptional children, cooperative learning, multiple intelligences, classroom management, brain-compatible learning, and Dr. Ruby Payne’s work with students and families from poverty.

Sue Nelle retired in June 2000 to work full-time as a consultant for Dr. Ruby Payne. Dr. DeHart’s school, while being considered a low-socioeconomic campus, has repeatedly been recognized for its innovative techniques, inclusion practices, and the outstanding academic gains of its at-risk students. Her staff attributes their success with students to having become practitioners of Dr. Payne’s philosophy, techniques, and strategies for working with students and their families from poverty.

Sue Nelle’s credentials, degrees, and certifications:

Dr. DeHart has a B.A. in deaf education, speech pathology, and general education (K–8) from Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha, Oklahoma. She earned an M.A. in special education and administration/supervision and an Ed.D. in early childhood education with a minor in gifted education from Texas Woman’s University/North Texas University in Denton, Texas.

Sue Nelle’s aha! moment:

Mercy! There are so many beautiful moments I have experienced while studying and presenting Dr. Payne’s material through the years that it is hard to choose just one. However, I do remember being a principal and hearing Ruby present for the first time. I ran up to her after the program and said, “You have to come to my school and share this with my staff!” She came, and my staff took her philosophy into their bone marrow. For years, we saw miracles happen on a daily basis with our students and their parents. Ruby’s work is transformational! Once it becomes a part of you, you are never the same. Your interaction with students and their parents, the way you structure your classroom, and everything about your teaching changes dramatically. In my opinion, Dr. Payne is a genius, and yet she provides a methodology that is so simple and easy to implement…developing mutual respect is her key.

It has been so rewarding presenting to teachers, and a few years later, when they become building administrators and/or superintendents, to see them become proponents for the information to be internalized by their staffs, too. I can’t tell you how many times I have been invited to speak in a school or district and have had the hosting administrator say, “I heard you several years ago when I was a teacher, and it changed my whole educational philosophy. I want my people and district to have this experience, too.”

What does Sue Nelle do for fun?

We have a vacation home in Colorado that we’ve had for more than 40 years. It is in the Valley of the Blue with a view of the Ten Mile Mountain Range. That is our happy place.

Some of the things I enjoy include watercolor painting, reading just about anything I can get my hands on, movies, and working brain puzzles. But most of all I enjoy watching grandchildren growing into fine young people and raising our 12-year-old son, Blake, the technology geek!