DuBois leaves an unforgettable legacy at Nabnasset


Noah Brown

DuBois smiles at her desk inside her office.

Noah Brown, Social Media & Graphic Design Editor

During the school day, the small, narrow halls of Nabnasset are filled with happy children and messages of kindness and compassion. These feelings are created by the environment, the teachers, and the staff, including the long-time Nabnasset principal, Susan DuBois.

After an extraordinary 36-year career as an educator, DuBois will be retiring at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. DuBois will continue to work with Nina Balfe, who will become the new principal, over the summer. However, DuBois’s long-standing career and heartfelt legacy will be held forever in the history of Nabnasset.

DuBois, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania then raised in West Point, New York, grew up with a father in the military academy and a mother who was an educator. Having a childhood with educator parents allowed DuBois to see firsthand what being an educator was all about and how much it meant to the people around them.

Motivated by her childhood experiences, her goal was to become an educator just like her parents were, and since then she has made this dream come true. DuBois went through high school and then started at a private women’s college called Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania, later moving on to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) for a master’s in guidance and counseling. After that, she studied at George Washington University (GWU) and got an Education Specialist Degree in Administration (EDS).

During her years of college at VCU, DuBois landed a spot in her substitute teacher job in Williamsburg, Virginia, and got her first taste in education while moving across every academic subject in school.

“It was the best thing I ever did, I did it all […] it was a great [and] invaluable learning experience,” DuBois said.

After working as a substitute teacher for a year, DuBois transitioned to teaching second graders. Then she moved to Concord-Carlisle, taking roles as a kindergarten teacher and a language specialist, and then finally moving to Westford as a full-time assistant principal of Nabnasset School.

Unexpectedly, the original principal decided to retire the following year of DuBois’s arrival. That being the case, DuBois took on the role of principal of Nabnasset in 2002.

“I had a lot to learn from her and I was really enjoying the job […] but I thought, why not, and went for [becoming the principal],” DuBois said.

Ever since then, DuBois has been working hard as the Nabnasset principal, representing the slogan that all the Westford Schools follow: “Shaping the Future One Child at a Time”. From teaching young students about honor and gratitude to working with the outside community to make the school a better place, DuBois has collaborated to make Nabnasset an impactful stepping stone to the rest of the students’ lives.

“You have to make sure that our kids are well cared for […] We know that students have to feel good in order to learn, they have to feel safe,” DuBois said.

Caring about the students and faculty members always was a top priority for DuBois. She is not only grateful for the experiences that she has been a part of but also for the memories that she created for the numerous Nabnasset alumni. Many students today remember good memories from the school as well as the caring attitude towards every student from DuBois.

Many former students remember her well, but the person that remembers her vividly is Former Superintendent Bill Olsen. During his 49-year education career, Olsen spent much of his time working with DuBois or alongside her. Recollecting the times spent together in the education field Olsen always had something good to say about her.

“DuBois is solid wood and could always be counted on for anything,” Olsen said. “She motivates, inspires, and believes in everyone around her.”

After she retires, DuBois is planning on traveling the world with her husband, especially to Italy, while also staying in the area and doing the things that she loves including biking, skiing, reading, and gardening.

Now looking back on her initial goals and legacy that DuBois wanted to leave, she had many things to say about her long career and past experiences at Nabnasset.

“It has been a job that I have enjoyed immensely. I have learned a great deal personally and professionally along the way. I’ve come into contact with people that have taught me wonderful lessons that I’ll carry with me. […] I truly love this place and I can’t imagine not being here anymore,” DuBois said.