Faculty Spotlight: Educators inspiring future teachers
Dr. Suresh Chiruguru, known more commonly as Dr. Guru, sees the endless potential in every student. “I feel it’s a divine privilege to have the opportunity to direct and channel that potential in the right direction; I can help prepare them to be impactful leaders and responsible citizens of society,” he says.
Dr. Chiruguru is a biology teacher, a science peer-coach, technology-lead teacher, mentor and member of the Instructional Leadership Team at LaGrange High School (Calcasieu Parish School District) in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Outside of his work in education, he serves the greater community as a pastor and counselor, holding an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in recognition of outstanding mission work and social service in India and neighboring countries.
His life as an educator takes many forms across disciplines. He is a general board member of the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE) 2023-24. He’s also the assistant director and the chair of the scientific review committee of the Regional-V Science & Engineering Fair, Louisiana. And as a National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Advocator, Dr. Chiruguru reviews and rates NSTA resources, public collection, and conference session proposals.
“As a life-long learner, I’ve earned several advanced degrees including a Research Doctoral Degree in Christian Theology, a Professional Doctoral Degree in Management, and presented a dissertation on Teaching Practices: Transform Teaching with Innovation & Improvisation,” he says.
Dr. Chiruguru has been continuously recognized for his teaching through grants and awards. Highlights include: LACUE 2022 High School Teacher of Year, Louisiana Educator Advocacy Development fellowship grant recipient, LACUE STAR Presenter (for offering professional development sessions on best practices of Teaching Science and Technology in 21st Century Classroom), and 2011 Vinton High School Teacher of the Year.
As a Reach Professor of Science, Dr. Chiruguru uses his professional knowledge and experience to design and deliver high-quality content and authentic learning to train student teachers. “With Reach, the ‘job-embedded learning’ means the job leads to the degree, not the other way around,” he notes. “Most of the professors are the classroom teachers who have been practicing teaching and are also recognized for their professionalism, dedication and efficiency. As a result, students are trained by mentors and role models.”
Reach’s faculty-practitioner model is an ideal way of preparing and training effective teachers for the 21st century classrooms, according to Dr. Chiruguru. “The professors provide encouragement, empathy, and empowerment to the students to develop metacognition in order to make them owners of their own learning.”
Dr. Chiruguru believes teaching has great power. “We can inspire and ignite the spark of creativity that transforms ordinary individuals into entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, and professionals who design the future world.”