Skip to Main Content

Great Expectations: Group Leaders Bring the Magic

If you have been on a Road Scholar learning adventure, you know that a talented group leader makes all the difference. We recognize the essential role group leaders play. And thanks to your support, Road Scholar can retain expert individuals from coast to coast for our programs. We look for special people with a deep knowledge of the destination and subject to bring the magic. Always on their toes, they must have a contagious love of learning, and at the same time, be able to manage any situation as it arises — with diplomacy and kindness.

Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sue Shoemaker from Brown City, Michigan, is just one example of the many special individuals that Road Scholar has had the good fortune to hire, thanks to the support of our donors. A middle school teacher and guidance counselor for over 38 years, Sue knows the importance of studying and doing your homework. Retired since 2010, she uses her well-honed skills to lead programs for Road Scholar. In October 2023, she led her 40th learning adventure at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

In 2015, Sue was chosen for her first-hand experience and knowledge to lead Detroit’s first signature city program. She continues to lead this program every year. “I’m all for underdog cities. I help people see the good and the bad, and to understand why these cities are such gems."

Sue Shoemaker

“Sue is one of our superstars,” says Patrick Cronin, Director, Group Leader Resources, Road Scholar. “She fosters a sense of community in her participants, enabling them to enjoy camaraderie and exploration with like-minded people. Sue instantly creates a welcoming atmosphere, turning a group of strangers into friends. Her passion for learning is contagious, ensuring you share in the excitement from the moment you meet,” says Patrick.

Always prepared, she led the new Tulsa program this past April.  She wove history, architecture and music into the experience to make this immersive program come alive. She even played “After Midnight,” written by Tulsan J.J. Cale and made famous by Eric Clapton, and “Tulsa Time,” originally recorded by Don Williams and later by Eric Clapton, on the motor coach.

Philbrook Museum in Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Sue encourages participants to send her special requests before their programs. An architect taking her Detroit program took her up on the offer, and Sue delivered! He writes, “I piled on a long list of contemporary and emerging sites I was interested in, and darn if she didn’t manage to work ALL of them into our itinerary.”