Head of School

Suzanna Jemsby


Suzanna Jemsby has been the Head of School for the Galloway School in Atlanta, Georgia since July 2012. Since her arrival, Galloway has thrived in every way. The school is at full enrollment with a long waiting list, annual giving is at an all time high, and there is an excitement about the bold new strategic direction embodied in the school's unique instructional delivery model called 4D Learning. Click here to read more.

 

Walking across India

I've been awarded a prize! Ms India! You'll be pleased to know that the awarding agency is not a beauty pageant organization, it's FitBit! FitBit is the maker of the little chip that I have religiously -- or at least spiritually -- worn for over a year now. The chip tracks my daily steps. So, I have won an award for walking. Specifically, I have walked the length of India this past year. That's 3,213 kilometres, or 1,996 miles for the less metrically inclined.

I have always enjoyed walking. Growing up in Europe where walking is a common part of someone's daily experience, whether it be walking to and from school, or to a train station, or to the grocery store, you could say I am very accustomed to walking. When FitBit came into my life at the suggestion of two colleagues, the habit of walking became a passion, an obsession, and dare I say it, even an addiction.

The basic premise of FitBit is centered around the notion that it's healthy to walk 10,000 steps a day. Believe it or not, that's harder to achieve than you would think if you have a job that requires some sitting. Once I started wearing my FitBit, I realised that I was more sedentary than I thought. I quickly started to become fascinated with the data this little chip was providing me on a daily basis. And the questions started forming: On what days of the week was I walking more steps than others? How many steps would make me feel exhausted? How many steps is one circuit of Chastain Park? What would be a suitable daily target for me? How were some of my colleagues getting in more steps than me? What could I do to get more steps in?

In the pursuit of answers to these questions, the sneaky little chip started to change my behaviours. No longer was I interested in getting a parking slot close to the CostCo entrance; I started sending less emails and going to visit more people; rather than watching an extra episode of some inane TV show, I was going out for evening walks. What's happened in the period of a year is that I have gone from mostly averaging 10,000 steps a day to commonly averaging about 17,500 a day. Hopefully the medical research still supports the notion that walking a lot is healthy...

Now to the India piece. I've a dear friend who has called me Ms India for a while because of my ethnicity, so it was funny that FitBit chose that country to award me over any other. As an educator, I love the great educational questions that arise from this award. For example: If I were to walk 3,213 from our home in Atlanta, where could I end up? What other countries are similar in length to India? How far does the average Indian walk in a day? What country will I conquer next? Beyond the India bit, is the number steps per day something that is related to socio-economic class? How many minutes have I been actively walking during the past year? How many steps per day did the average person walk, say, 100 years ago? Do children typically out-walk adults? How much do human's gaits vary? The questions are endless!

Are you tracking your steps? Any fun stories to tell?

Posted by sbreunig on Monday April, 27, 2015 at 08:37PM
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Suzanna Jemsby
Head of School
sjemsby@gallowayschool.org

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